Israel has announced plans to legalize a total of 96 settlement outposts.According to Israeli NGO Peace Now, there are a total of 99 settlement outposts, of which the government is planning to dismantle three. However, as part of the same decision, the government is planning to legalize the remaining outposts as they are located on ‘state lands’.
This announcement coincides with a recent surge in settler violence, particularly around Nablus and Hebron. Settlers near Nablus have been outraged by government demolition of two sheds. In contrast, a total of 24 000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since 1967, in contravention of article 53 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
‘State lands’ within the West Bank refer to areas that the Israeli government has appropriated due to a lack of ownership papers or because the land has not been cultivated in the past three years. In Palestinian society, ownership has traditionally been determined through oral contract, although Ottoman, British and Jordanian authorities often formalized these. Due to movement restrictions it can be difficult or impossible for Palestinian farmers to cultivate their lands.
All settlements and settlement outposts are illegal under international law.