Even though extremist right-wing organizations publicly announced a new campaign to set up illegal settlements in the West Bank, the government failed to halt the effort and a settler organization called “Nachala” claimed to have successfully set up six new illegal settlements.
Shatil’s Coordinator for Social Change in Human Rights Tamar Yakira explains that Nachlala used public money and the official logos of the West Bank regional councils of Samaria, Binyamin, and the Jordan Valley in this effort. Many of the participants in these illegal activities are members of right-wing youth movements like Beitar and Bnei Akiva.
Despite statements by Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Minister of Internal Security Omer Bar Lev that prohibited settler organizers from setting up these illegal outposts, Nachala claims to have established six settlements on Tuesday night — July 19th — two near Hebron, two near Ramallah, and two in the northern West Bank. Nachala has said that its activists named one of the illegal settlements in the northern West Bank Maaleh Yonatan after Yonatan Netanyahu, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother, who was famously killed in the Israeli raid on Entebbe in 1976.
While the settlements were being built there were reports of merely 11 arrests, and those detained were quickly released without charges. Only one of the settlements has been dismantled to date.
In the well-read Israeli news site Ynet, Tami Yakira wrote: “Imagine that hundreds of young people got together inside the Green Line and were encouraged to take control of land that didn’t belong to them in Petah Tikva or Afula, Kiryat Ono or Nof Hagalil, without approval or building permits. […]building settlements without government approval is prohibited by Israeli law, and of course by international law, which prohibits transferring populations by force in occupied territories.”
Yakira added, “A law-abiding country must stop this dangerous program and put the organizers on trial for rebellion or at the very least for conspiracy to commit an offense. In addition, the State should halt the public funding to all the participants and prohibit the involvement of welfare authorities for the benefit of the young people that are committing crimes. But instead, they are granted support.”