Official: Settlers erect homes, level land by Nablus outposts

Maan News Agency | June 20, 2012


NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers have brought 45 caravans to expand settler outposts near Nablus, a local official said Wednesday.

Construction began on Monday on three settler outposts adjacent to Eli and Shilo settlements in the northern West Bank, PA official monitoring settler activities Ghassan Daghlas told Ma’an.

Bulldozers have razed more than 60,000 square meters of agricultural land near Palestinian villages Jalud, Qaryut and Jurish, he said, noting that settlers had constructed several cement homes and brought in caravans.

The settler homes lie just 300 meters from Palestinian houses in Jalud village, Daghlas said.

He urged government protection for Palestinians suffering violence by settlers in the occupied West Bank. In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.

The Nablus area experienced the majority of settler violence during this period, with settlers routinely destroying Palestinian agricultural crops, vandalizing property, and physically assaulting locals, according to a study by The Palestine Center.

All Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law. Israel distinguishes between illegal settlements it has approved and illegal outposts which were never granted official authorization.

Recent rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court ordering that several outposts built on Palestinian land be taken down have proved a major test for Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who is loath either to upset his ultranationalist base or defy Israel’s judiciary over policy in the West Bank.

After a High Court ruling, Netanyahu’s government reached a deal with settlers in the Ulpana outpost in recent weeks to physically relocate the buildings, and erect 300 new homes elsewhere in the adjacent Beit El settlement.

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