Creating new perspectives since 2009

Rights group: ‘Israel plans to build new settlement in West Bank’

February 29, 2024 at 10:42 am

A picture taken in the village of Turmus Ayya near Ramallah city shows the nearby Israeli Shilo settlement in the background, in the occupied West Bank on 18 February, 2024 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel plans to build a new Jewish-only settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to an Israeli anti-settlement group on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Peace Now confirmed that an order was signed by the commander of the military’s Central Command, Major General Yehuda Fuchs, delineating jurisdiction for a new settlement north of Al-Ubeidiya town, east of Bethlehem.

The first phase of the settlement will include 3,600 housing units on about 417 dunams for the religious-nationalist public, according to the organisation.

“In the second phase, the settlement is intended to expand to an additional 2,000 dunams and another 10,000 housing units for the Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) population,” it added in a statement.

Israeli authorities have already contracted planners and architects to prepare plans for the new settlement at a cost of approximately 2.7 million shekels ($751,000).

Peace Now shared that the new settlement is an implementation of an earlier government decision in February 2023 to establish nine new settlements in the West Bank, including legitimising illegal outposts.

“Any house that would be built in this new settlement will eventually have to be evacuated by Israel. The plan is a severe blow to Israel’s security interest and to the Palestinians, and especially to the chances of reaching a two-state agreement,” the Israeli group said.

“Instead of planning a future of peace and security for Israel, the government is planning to perpetuate the conflict, deepen the occupation, and unfortunately, continue the bloodshed.”

Estimates indicate around 700,000 Israeli settlers live in roughly 300 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

All Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal under international law.

Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip following the 7 October, 2023, Hamas attack.

More than 400 Palestinians have since been killed and 4,500 others injured by Israeli army fire and in settler attacks in the occupied territory, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice over its deadly onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 29,900 people dead.

In an interim ruling in January, the Hague-based court ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Israel plan to expand settlements helped trigger US shift in language