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Settlement rabbi urged construction on privately-owned Palestinian land

Construction work of illegal settlement units in the West Bank [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

The head of a religious school based at an illegal settlement outpost has urged settlers to build on privately-owned Palestinian land, according to Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR).

Earlier this month, RHR wrote to the Israeli Attorney General demanding an investigation be opened into Rabbi Meir Goldmintz of Havat Gilad outpost and pro-settler news site Arutz 7, “for the publication of statements that allegedly involve soliciting an offense”.

In an op-ed last month, Goldmintz wrote that “if an Arab is willing to sell [land], we will agree to buy the land, but when it is impossible to buy, the original law repeats that the land is ours and we should take it out of our eternal right to the Land of Israel.”

He added: “As long as we do not raise our flag high, and declare that we have the right to build our homes and communities on ‘private Palestinian land’, and as long as it is not clearly stated that what was true in the Sharon and the coastal plain [of Israel] is also true in Samaria and Judea [the occupied West Bank], we may gain ‘points’, but we will lose the entire campaign.”

Read: Israel approves $11m for illegal settlements in occupied West Bank

According to RHR, “this is a clear call to authorise the theft of private Palestinian land and Arutz 7 has given it a platform.”

In their letter, RHR wrote: “Rabbi Goldmintz is the head of the Havat Gilad Yeshiva and therefore he is a spiritual authority whose words have a great influence on the young people in illegal ​​outposts which are characterised by radical ideology.”

“This is an area where incursions into private Palestinian land have been occurring for a long time. Therefore it is highly likely that his remarks will influence and result in actual criminal activity.”

#LandGrab

The RHR press release, citing media reports, notes that “the Civil Administration admits that it is reasonable to assume that residents of the illegal Havat Gilad outpost are expanding the outpost at the expense of private Palestinian land.”

“Due to the fact that attempts to take-over private Palestinian land are often accompanied with violence, the letter also demands he be investigated on the suspicion of inciting violence.”

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