Israel carries out rare demolition of illegal settler buildings in West Bank

Israel carries out rare demolition of illegal settler buildings in West Bank
The demolition of buildings at an unauthorised outpost was a rare occurrence for the Israeli government, which regularly approves building permits for new settlement construction.
2 min read
14 August, 2023
Isreali settlements and outposts in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law [Getty]

Israeli border police have demolished four buildings in an illegal settler outpost near the Kokhav Hashahr settlement in the central occupied West Bank.

The buildings, which were inhabited by two families, were demolished under order of the Civil Administration.

The buildings "were built on legal private Arab land and cannot be legalized," sources close to extremist Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Smotrich oversees most of Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank.

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The buildings were part of the unauthorised Baladim outpost, located near the Kokhav Hashahar settlement. It is inhabited by radical Israel settlers who have previously clashed with left-wing Israeli activists.

Most Israeli settlements in the West Bank are approved by the Israeli government but all are illegal under international law. Settlers have also constructed outposts without Israeli government permission, usually on privately owned Palestinian land.

During the eviction, settlers throw stones at the Israeli border police, yelled slurs and burnt tires, leading to the arrest of one settler.

Residents released a statement suggesting that Smortich was "continuing the former government's tradition of harming Jewish settlement and destroying homes."

Smotrich stated that during negotiations between the settlers and the administration, "we were not able to come to a consensual solution to transfer the buildings to nearby state lands in order to legalize them, as we have done in other places."

He also added that "we build and regulate settlements on an unprecedented scale and do so with authority."

The current far-right Israeli government regularly approves building permits for the creation of new housing in settlements.

The existence of settlements, along with the sharp increase of settler violence in the occupied West Bank, is one of the major obstacles in peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, as it obstructs the creation of an independent Palestinian state.