The illegal settlement of Ariel, south of Nablus and well inside the occupied West Bank, will be part of Israel in any agreement reached with the Palestinians. This claim was made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Friday, according to Israeli media reports.
Netanyahu was visiting the settlement and planting a symbolic tree when he said that Ariel, "the capital of Samaria, will be an integral part of the land and state of Israel in any future peace deal". His government intends to assist in its development, he added.
The Prime Minister of the Zionist state, which has been occupying and colonising the West Bank in contravention of international law since 1967, vowed to build a cultural centre in addition to the university centre in the settlement. "We are laying the foundation for three things here: growing power, settlements and culture. Here is the heart of our country, our ancestors were here, and it's here that we will stay and build."
The Israeli government announced two weeks ago that Judea and Samaria College in Ariel was being upgraded to a university centre as part of the process of turning it into a recognised Israeli university. Netanyahu added, "We want to deepen relations and coexistence with our neighbours [the Palestinians], but this will not stop us from living here and continuing to plant trees and build the settlements."
It was reported that Netanyahu also planted symbolic trees in the Kfar Etzion and Maale Adumim colony-settlements, stressing that Israel intends to stay in the occupied land.
Last week, US President Barak Obama said that he believes that Netanyahu wants to move towards peace, but the far right in Israel is stopping him. Israel is governed by a coalition of parties, which gives smaller, right-wing parties a lot of influence over government policy.