Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has announced that he will continue to support Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank in general, and in the city of Hebron in particular. His statement was made after the eviction of a group of settlers from a house in Hebron owned by a Palestinian.
Netanyahu said that he approved the eviction of what he called “the disputed building”, having been “assured” by Defence Minister Ehud Barak that the building should be cleared “from the operational perspective”.
In a statement published by Hebrew media outlets, the Prime Minister said, “If it turns out that settlers have the right to enter the building, they should be allowed to do so.”
On a related issue, Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting that he intends to legitimise three random settlement points in the West Bank.
Israeli MPs have stepped up their demands to give licences to the random settlement points, legalise them and refrain from demolishing them. The Israeli judiciary have ruled that such settlements are a clear violation of the law and are intended to create “facts on the ground”.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticised the way of that the government dealt with the “disputed building” in Hebron. “How can we touch the right of ownership of a house that was purchased legally by Jews, while at the same time invoking the right of property in order to evacuate a settlement point that was set up 13 years ago?” he asked.
Lieberman called for “settlement powers” to be taken away from the ministry of defence and handed over to a special ministerial committee. This, he claims, would reflect the desire of the government and the majority of the Israeli public.
International law regards all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal. Israeli law considers most to be legal, but those which built without government permits are regarded as illegal.