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In coalition talks, Israel far-right party demands return of 4 West Bank settlements

The illegal Jewish settlement of Neve Yaakov (foreground) in the northern area of east Jerusalem and Israel's controversial barrier separating the Palestinian neighbourhood of al-Ram (background) in the West Bank, on April 1, 2019. [AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP / Getty]
The illegal Israeli settlement of Neve Yaakov in the West Bank, on 1 April 2019 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP /Getty]

An Israeli far-right party is demanding the rebuilding of four settlements in the northern occupied West Bank, as part of coalition talks with Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud.

According to the Jerusalem Post, MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Union of Right-wing Parties (URP) met Saturday with senior settler official Yossi Dagan.

The latter urged a "construction boom" over the summer in Israel's illegal settlements across the West Bank, adding that "it will be a good summer" if there is a return to four settlements removed as part of the so-called Gaza Disengagement in 2005.

"We do not have to wait for what Trump will say in the US or what the European Union will say: We should be on the offensive, not the defensive," Dagan said.

READ: Israel army to confiscate Palestinian land for new settlement bypass road 

The Jerusalem Post reported that Smotrich "assured" Dagan that repealing the disengagement law is one of the party's coalition demands.

As explained by the paper, "such a move would be considered a governmental apology" for the disengagement, and in practice would "open the door to reestablish the four settlements" in the West Bank.

"The URP also wants Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make good on his pledge to annex the West Bank settlements", the report added.

Smotrich said on Saturday night that he hoped Israelis were at the start of a four-year period during which "we will also return northern Samaria" [the West Bank]".

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