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Israel to celebrate ‘return’ to West Bank at major settlement event

Image of Israeli Cultural Minister Miri Regev (L) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Miri Regev Regev/Facebook]
Image of Israeli Cultural Minister Miri Regev (L) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Miri Regev Regev/Facebook]

Top Israeli government officials will attend a “large-scale event” later this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the occupation of the Palestinian territory and Syrian Golan Heights.

The event will be held in Gush Etzion, a major settlement in the southern West Bank, on 27 September, and is billed as marking the “return to the historical lands of Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights”.

Proceedings are being organised by Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev of Likud and Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home.

According to Ynet: “The state ceremony will be attended by Israel’s top officials, including the president, the prime minister, ministers, members of Knesset, judges, IDF General Staff members, [and] regional council leaders.” Overall, the report adds, some 4,000 guests are set to attend.

“To the different forces in the world and in Israel trying to undermine the Jewish people’s connection to its country, we say – you won’t succeed,” Regev stated.

Read: Golan Heights ‘essential to our existence,’ says Israeli President

“Fifty years ago, we returned to Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley [references to the occupied West Bank] and the Golan. We returned home to our ancestral lands, and we are here to stay for all of eternity. Our belonging to these lands should be above political or diplomatic dispute.”

Bennett, for his part, said: “We returned in order to stay forever, without conceding land and without foreign sovereignty. Zionism continues beating in all of our hearts, and on this day we salute the pioneers of this generation.”

Ynet reports that the event will be the first in a series scheduled to take place “across the country”, for which 10 million shekels ($2.83 million) has been allocated by the government.

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