Two new Jewish settlement outposts have been created in the West Bank in the first such development since 2005, Israel’s Peace Now settlement watchdog said on Wednesday.
According to the watchdog, an outpost called Nahalei Tal has been set up northwest of Ramallah, and another called Tzufim North has been set up near the Tzufim settlement near the northern town of Qalqilya.
Despite the fact they have been set up without the required permits, both are already connected to the electricity grid and the water board, indicating clear backing from the Israeli authorities, Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran said in a statement.
“As opposed to the sporadic outposts that are created by the hilltop youth and evacuated every few weeks by the security forces, it is evident that the two new outposts are highly supported by the authorities,” she said.
“They include mobile homes, infrastructure, electricity, water and roads (and even air conditioning),” she said, indicating that the watchdog had complained to the Israeli Civil Administration which is responsible for planning issues.
“It is apparent that at this stage there is no intention to evacuate the outposts,” Ofran said, indicating it was the first time unauthorised outposts had been set up since 2005.
The Israeli government distinguishes between settlements built with all the required permits, and unauthorised outposts, which are set up without them.
But the international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to be illegal because they are built on territory Israel occupied during the 1967 Six Day War.
Ofran charged that by allowing the establishment of more unauthorised settlement outposts, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was making “a mockery of the rule of law.”
“After the government rewarded the lawbreakers that built on private Palestinian lands in Migron and Ulpana with alternative homes and other benefits, the government continues to make a mockery of the rule of law and allow a radical minority to establish new outposts, which create facts on the ground that harm the possibility of an agreement with the Palestinians,” she said.
Migron and Ulpana are two outposts which were evacuated by the Israeli government following a Supreme Court ruling, with the residents rehoused in other settlements.