Thousands of illegal Israeli settlers storm Palestinian land demanding settlement construction

The mob was led by key ministers of the Benjamin Netanyahu government, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotric, and was joined by at least 20 parliamentarians. They wanted the Israeli government to reopen and “legalize” the settlement outpost Evyatar

April 11, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Israeli Settlers illegal outpost
(Photo: QNN)

Thousands of illegal Israeli settlers, under heavy security cover, stormed Jabal Sabih in southern Nablus on Monday, April 10, demanding settlement construction at the site. The mob of settlers was led by dozens of lawmakers in the Israeli parliament (Knesset), including seven ministers of the Benjamin Netanyahu government. 

The settlers were led by Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, themselves leaders of extremist settler movements, with 20 other Members of Knesset (MKs) joining them.  

The Israeli forces had shut the roads in the area for Palestinians. They also shut public institutions, including schools. The settlers marched from Zaatara military checkpoint to Jabal Sabih. The affected region included the Palestinian town of Huwara, which has been the target of repeated settler violence of late.  

The settlers want the Israeli government to reopen and “legalize” the settlement outpost Evyatar, built illegally near the town of Beita in the Jabal Sabih region in 2021. Even though the illegal settlement outpost was evacuated after a lengthy protest carried out against it by Palestinians, the Israeli state maintains the illegal structures under its military cover and plans to resettle it soon.   

Building settlements or outposts inside the occupied territories is illegal as per UN resolutions and international law. Nevertheless, more than 700,000 Israelis live illegally in the occupied territories—in big settlements and smaller outposts—under heavy security cover. While successive Israeli governments have claimed that they only recognize settlements and that “outposts” are illegal, the same security is provided to them as the settlements.    

Scores of Palestinians, including journalists, were injured when Israeli security forces attacked those opposing the storming of the area with rubber coated bullets and tear gas. 

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the storming and called it a deliberate provocation. It claimed that the action was organized as “an extension of the incitement calls of the Israeli right and the fascist right to deepen settlement at the expense of [Palestinian] land.” 

Meanwhile, scores of settler attacks were reported on Monday from different parts of the occupied West Bank. Armed settlers attacked Palestinian houses in Bethlehem and in Ramallah. They were also joined by the occupation forces, who used live fire, teargas, and rubber bullets to attack the Palestinians, Wafa news agency reported.