The conservative Israeli government of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, reached agreement with residents of the Ulpana illegal settlement, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, stating that Israel will build 300 apartment units for Jewish settlers, in exchange for relocating five illegal homes.Israeli Ynet News reported that Zalman Melamed, the Rabbi of Beit El illegal settlement, and representatives of the Israeli government, reached the deal on Tuesday.
The five illegal homes will be relocated to a location within the settlement boundaries, and “in return”, Israel will construct 300 units on what it calls “state land”.
The five homes in question were built, by Israel’s admission, on privately-owned Palestinian lands; the settlers will leave their homes in a week.
Ynet added that the implementation of the agreement requires the approval of the Israeli High Court of Justice, but approval is practically guaranteed.
Despite the fact that Israel will be building 300 new units for the settlers in the occupied West Bank, some settlers in Ulpana were complaining about what they called the “eviction” of the five homes, and said that the move “shames the government”.
Netanyahu will be presenting the deal to the so-called Ministerial Committee on Settlements during its meeting Wednesday.
The government of Netanyahu and his coalition partners, most of them settlers and supporters of the settlement movement, is one of the most fundamentalist coalition governments in Israel’s history, and one of the strongest supporters of the illegal settlement movement.
Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under International Law, and also violate the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory.
The West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is riddled with settlements taking over large areas of Palestinian lands. These are usually situated on hilltops to prevent the Palestinians from their natural right to expand their communities and from having access to what is left of their lands.
Israel’s illegal Annexation Wall in the West Bank is built in a manner that isolates Palestinian farmers from their farmlands and orchards in the West Bank, and allows the expansion of existing illegal Israeli settlements.
On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague, in the Netherlands, issued an advisory ruling considering the Israel’s Annexation Wall as illegal, and warned of the legal consequences of its construction.
Similar to all United Nations and Security Council resolutions calling on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, Israel ignored the ruling.