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Israel approves plan to arm ‘Price Tag’ settler gangs in occupied West Bank

February 7, 2023 at 12:37 pm

Protest calling to stop supplying arms to the Israeli military [Palestine Solidarity Campaign]

Israel’s extreme far-right government has approved a plan to arm the so-called “Price Tag” settler gangs active in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Al-Quds Al-Araby reported on Monday. The occupation army is apparently preparing to arm security personnel in the unlicensed settler farming outposts in the occupied West Bank, which are mostly strongholds of the fanatical settler gangs.

The plan to arm these fanatics is being put forward on the pretext that they are being exposed to “massive danger” when they are unarmed because, according to Israel Hayom, they army cannot reach them easily. While all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, settler outposts are illegal even under Israeli law.

Last year, Haaretz said that most of these illegal outposts had been built during the past 10 years in the occupied West Bank and are livestock farms. It noted that there were around 50 of them in the West Bank.

The settlement watchdog Kerem Navot said that these outposts take around 60,000 acres of land, about seven per cent of Area C of the occupied territory. According to Haaretz, the farm settlements are normally built on “state-owned” land or privately-owned Palestinian land, but animals graze on larger areas outside outpost borders. Most operate on a grazing contract from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture.

The Civil Administration, which is in charge of allocating grazing land in the occupied West Bank, claims that these illegal outposts often carry out their activities without its knowledge.

Al-Quds Al-Araby reported that settlers in these outposts apply for arms licences like any other settler, then buy their own arms. Israel Hayom puts the number of armed Jewish settlers at 100,000.

Israel’s Yesh Din human rights group said last year that the state’s “colonialist expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) has thus far relied largely on settlements and unauthorised outposts.”

It added: “During the past several years Israel has been promoting shepherding outposts consisting of goat and sheep farms. Between 2017 and 2021, Israelis built over 50 new single-family settlements in the West Bank, at least 35 of which are shepherding outposts.”

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