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Settler leaders, right-wing politicians urge West Bank annexation after US policy shift 

Ayelet Shaked, Israel's Justice Minister of the far-right Jewish Home party [Quds News Network/Facebook]
Ayelet Shaked, former Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked [Quds News Network/Facebook]

Israeli right-wing politicians and settler leaders yesterday welcomed a decision by the United States to reject a long-standing position that the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration’s rejection of the international consensus, in what is the latest of a series of pro-Israel moves.

As reported by the Times of Israel, Oded Revivi, mayor of Efat settlement and foreign “ambassador” for the settler leadership, praised the US policy shift, and urged the Israeli government to take full advantage of the development: “Settlement is not a crime and it is not an obstacle to peace.”

Yisrael Gantz, chair of the so-called Binyamin Regional Council of settlements, described the US announcement as a “major step toward [Israeli] sovereignty [in the occupied West Bank]”: “now is the time for the Israeli government to declare the application of Israeli laws in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank]”.

READ: Israel is falsifying Palestinian history and stealing its heritage

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, meanwhile, who also oversees the government’s fight against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said the decision “will help us stop and thwart boycott attacks against Israel that are focused on the West Bank”.

Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked of the New Right party responded by urging the government to “apply our sovereignty to these communities [settlements]”.

“The Jewish People have the legal & moral right to live in their ancient homeland,” she tweeted.

Pro-annexation settler activists in the “Sovereignty Movement” also welcomed the US’ announcement, stating: “The sovereignty process continues to progress step by step as a just and moral act that will create regional stability and security.”

READ: Newly-appointed West Bank settler leader vows to achieve annexation

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