Israel Lifts Ban on Return to West Bank Settlements

    Israel Lifts Ban on Return to West Bank Settlements
    Last updated Mar 22, 2023
    Image credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters


    • The Israeli Knesset voted on Tuesday to allow Jewish settlers to return to four settlements in the occupied West Bank by amending a 2005 law that mandated their evacuation. The vote sparked condemnation from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the EU.[1]
    • The latest move by PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration has already raised tensions with Palestinians and the international community. The US, a close ally of Israel, said it was "extremely troubled” by the move and urged Israel to refrain from allowing settlers to return to the outposts.[2]
    • Yuli Edelstein, a member of Netanyahu's Likud party who sponsored the bill, said it was "the first and significant step towards real repair and the establishment of Israel in the territories of the homeland that belongs to it."[3]
    • In turn, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Pres. Mahmoud Abbas, said the move "is contrary to all resolutions of international legitimacy." The EU said that repealing the 2005 law was "counter-productive to de-escalation efforts."[3]
    • Some 600K Jewish Israelis live in 140 settlements built since Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel withdrew from the four settlements at the same time as its unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.[4]
    • The situation in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel continues to deteriorate as violence worsens. The killing of the two brothers last month sparked a settler rampage in Huwara and other neighboring villages around the northern West Bank city of Nablus, exacerbating tensions.[5]



    Though ultimately the Jewish people do have a claim to the West Bank, known to many as Judea and Samaria, it's not necessarily in Israel's best interest to repeal the 2005 disengagement law. Besides the fact that tensions in the West Bank are already at a fever pitch — especially with Ramadan celebrations beginning — most of these settlements are built on privately-owned Palestinian land, and there are few legal avenues to seize it.


    More and more, Israel demonstrates that it's neither interested in peace nor coexistence. Israel's ultimate goal is to colonize the entire region between the river and the sea piece by piece, either disenfranchising the indigenous Palestinian population or outright ethnically cleansing them. Emboldened by international silence after killing more Palestinians last year than in any other calendar year since the Second Intifada, the occupation is becoming even more violent.

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