The Israeli government, on Sunday, voted settler Herzi Halevi as next Israeli Occupation Army Chief of Staff, reported The Jerusalem Post.
The 54-year-old settler was previously the former Head of Military Intelligence and will become the 23rd Occupation Army Commander early next year.
Following his nomination, Palestinian lawyer, Diana Buttu, said having a settler as Chief of Staff raises concerns that the military’s conduct towards the Palestinians will worsen, further entrench Israel’s occupation and make the creation of a Palestinian State all the more impossible.
Meanwhile, during the opening remarks at Sunday’s government meeting, Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, praised Halevi as an ethical officer. “I have no doubt that he is the right man to head the military.”
Moreover, Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, said, “The critical component of Israeli strength is the quality of the Occupation forces’ fighters and commanders. Maj. Gen. Halevi today joins a long and select chain of thoughtful and daring commanders who knew how to march the Occupation Army forward.”
Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, also wished Halevi success, in a Twitter post, claiming that the incoming Chief of Staff is an “excellent and highly accomplished officer and commander whom I have known and cherished for many years.”
Married with four children, Halevi lives in Kfar Haoranim, an illegal settlement in the Occupied West Bank.
Earlier this year, Israeli media revealed that the number of settlers in the Occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley has increased by 43 per cent since 2011. Israel Today put the number of settlers at 491,923 as of last January, living in around 150 settlements. This figure excludes the 218,000 settlers living in Occupied Jerusalem.
The newspaper suggested that, by the end of 2022, the number of settlers in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley could exceed half a million. This figure is a goal set by the settler-run Yesha Council.
All Israeli settlers, settlements and settlement “outposts” are illegal under international law.