Israel ‘Legalizes’ Nine Outposts in Occupied West Bank, Despite US Objection

At least 16 unauthorized Israeli settlement 'outposts' have been established since 2017. (Photo: Courtesy Peace Now)

Israel has ‘legalized’ nine colonial outposts in the occupied West Bank, turning them into official settlements, Israeli media reported.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Defense Minister Bezalel Smotrich wanted to legalize as many as 77 outposts but their request was refused.

The legalization of the colonial outposts is allegedly part of a major offensive in occupied Jerusalem ordered by the far-right extremist Ben-Gvir in the wake of attacks on Israelis in the city.

The decision, which is said to be the first legalization of such outposts by the Israeli government since 2012, has reportedly caused further irritation in Washington. According to the news website Axios, in addition to the legalization of the nine outposts, the Israeli government has decided to connect dozens of other illegal outposts to state infrastructure and approve the planning and building of thousands of new housing units in the settlements.

Axios reported that the US was notified of the outpost decision in advance. Israeli and US officials are cited as saying that the administration of President Joe Biden expressed strong opposition to the plan in the days leading up to the cabinet decision. Washington made it clear that it would condemn it publicly once it was approved.

Although successive US administrations have turned a blind eye to Israel’s illegal Jewish settlement construction and expansion, the matter of outpost legalization is said to be one issue against which the Biden administration has said explicitly that it will push back.


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