(Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/ApaImages)
The US criticized Israel’s recent decision to allow Jewish settlers to establish a settlement around the West Bank Hamesh outpost area, despite Washington previously urging Tel Aviv not to legitimatize the outpost.
Last week, the chief of the Israeli military’s Central Command, Yehuda Fuchs, signed a decree allowing Israelis to enter the Homesh area, which would essentially pave the way for constructing another settlement in the occupied West Bank. Under international law, Israel’s settlement expansion into the Palestinian territories is deemed illegal.
The US State Department has consistently demanded that Israel refrain from making escalatory moves against the Palestinians, which in this case, would assure further confrontations between the Israeli military and Palestinian resistance.
State Department Spokesperson, Matthew Miller, remarked that the US is apprehensive over Israel’s decision to legitimize the outpost in the northern occupied West Bank, as its construction would be considered illegal.
According to a Hebrew media report last month, the Israeli Knesset has passed its third reading of a bill that would lift the ban on settlers returning to four settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim, and Kadim.
These previous settlements were evacuated under the ‘disengagement’ law in 2005, which saw the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of several settlements in Gaza and the northern occupied West Bank.
Israeli lawmakers proposed this new legislation to reestablish the four settlements in December last year.
In January, Israel’s High Court gave Benjamin Netanyahu’s government 90 days to explain its reasons for not dismantling the Homesh settlement in accordance with the Disengagement Law. The government had already been planning to repeal segments of the law as part of a plan to legalize the settlements, including the Homesh outpost.
Israeli news outlet Haaretz suggested in April that the judicial overhaul policy was the Israeli far-right’s response and “revenge” to the 2005 Disengagement Law.