The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture has granted settlers licenses to seize thousands of Palestinian agricultural lands surrounding six settlement outposts in the West Bank, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported.
As reported by Haaretz, the ministry supports three Israeli organisations that send volunteers to work in the outposts with four million shekels annually (over $1 million).
The newspaper revealed that the Israeli Peace Now organisation had received a response from the Israeli government stating that it allocated 8,500 dunams of Palestinian land for the outposts to be used for grazing and agricultural work.
There are dozens of outposts for grazing animals in the West Bank. In recent years, a minimum of 30 outposts were constructed by the settlement movement Amana. These outposts comprise large swathes of land with very few residents because extensive land is allocated for grazing purposes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the outposts that were permitted to hold the land do not have construction permits.
Peace Now called on the government to halt support for the illegal farms and outposts to "avoid more Evtayars," referring to an illegal outpost recently vacated by settlers after an agreement with the government permitting the site to remain operational under Israeli army supervision.