Israeli government to approve plan for Golan Heights settlements

Israeli government to approve plan for Golan Heights settlements
The Israeli government is expected to approve a plan to expand settlements in the occupied Golan Heights
2 min read
26 December, 2021
Israel captured the Golan Heights in 1961 and annexed it in 1981 [Getty- archive]

The Israeli government met in the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday to approve an expansionary settlement plan.

The new plan, expected to be voted on by the government which held its weekly meeting in the illegal Mevo Hama settlement, will cost one billion shekels (US$317 million), which will be used to build more than 6,000 housing units in existing settlements.

A further 570 million shekels would be allocated for the plan to develop infrastructure and renewable energy projects on more than six thousand acres of land.

The Israeli Maariv news outlet said the plan aspires to bring in an additional 100,000 Jewish Israeli settlers into the area and tip the demographic balance in their favour, estimating that there is around a quarter of that number of Syrians still living in the Golan, mainly in five villages.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day war and annexed the territory in 1981, in a move not recognised internationally.

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But despite this, in 2019 then US president Donald Trump broke with other world powers by recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

To thank him for his move, Israel vowed to build a settlement in Trump’s name.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in October reiterated that Israel will keep the Golan Heights even if international views on the Syrian regime change.

"The Golan Heights is Israeli, full stop," he had said.

As well as plans to expand its settlements in the occupied Syrian territory, Israel has continued to build illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite it being considered illegal under international law.