Hundreds of settler youth installed 14 illegal settlement outposts in several West Bank areas, on Tuesday, in what was described by the Israeli media as a campaign to show their strength after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Datya Yitzhaki, a spokeswoman for the settler group which called itself “the Land of Israel Faithful” said that the group plans to install 25 new outposts “which will become permanent communities” by the end of Hanukkah Jewish feast.
Yitzhaki was evacuated from a settlement in the Gaza Strip; she helped install the Moaz Yam settlement outpost in Gush Katif before the evacuation.
She said that hundreds of settler youths have begun constructing wooden and stone houses and installed tents close to sites of older settlements.
“Settlements will resume and expand”, Yitzhaki said, “We plan to build and expand on what have been destroyed”.
They installed settlement outposts next to existing settlements hoping that this will increase the chances that there outposts will be recognized by the Israeli government as “legitimate neighborhoods”, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Haaretz added that the largest illegal outpost was installed next to Beit El settlement, where settlers claim some 200 youths were working to raise structures.
Israeli military officials underestimated the campaign and said that the settlers are “only youths enjoying a holiday resort that will disperse itself”, and ignored that fact that these outposts are illegal, and are installed on Palestinian lands.
Israeli government officials claimed that Israel intends to remove dozens of settlers’ outposts in the West Bank which were not authorized by the government under the Road Map Plan.
The official Palestinian response was made by Nabil Abu Rodeina, a spokesperson of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He said that all settlement activities severely hurt the efforts to maintain calm, and urged Israel to stop these illegal activities.