Israel's incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed a deal with far-right extremists which will see 65 settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank being recognised by the government. At the moment, all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and so-called outposts are even illegal under Israeli law.
Netanyahu's Likud party agreed with the Otzma Yehudit party led by Itamar Ben-Gvir to recognise the outposts within sixty days of the Likud-led coalition government taking office. The new deal was agreed last night.
This means that the unauthorised outposts will be connected to the water and electricity networks, and provided with "security measures". In fact, the outposts and the settlers who live in them and regularly terrorise local Palestinians are already protected by the occupation army.
According to available data, there are 451,000 settlers in 132 settlements and 147 unauthorised outposts in the occupied West Bank which are intended to tighten the cordon around Palestinian communities and steal the largest possible amount of land. The figures do not include the 230,000 settlers in occupied Jerusalem.
Other issues covered by the Likud-Otzma Yehudit deal include the expansion of the "Southern Law" on Israeli army bases to prevent weapons from being stolen and to protect occupation soldiers; a law imposing minimum penalties for agricultural crimes; and accelerating the planning and construction of bypass roads for use by Jews only to connect settlements in the occupied West Bank. The most extreme right-wing government in Israel's history of extremism looks set to entrench the apartheid system that it imposes on the Palestinians.
READ: Netanyahu offers compromise to Smotrich over legalisation of settlement outposts