Radical Israeli settler group plans to create 10 new illegal settlements in the West Bank
Over 400 pro-settlement activists convened last week at an event organised by the Nachala movement, an extremist settler group, to discuss plans to found ten "new communities" in the West Bank this coming July, the Israeli left-wing daily Haaretz reported on Saturday.
Dozens of volunteers were recruited at the conference to take part in building the future settlements.
The Nachala movement, which organised the meeting, is controversial even among Israelis. The group is behind "Evyatar", an Israeli settlement that was built in a matter of weeks in May 2021 near Mount Sabih, on land belonging to three Palestinian villages.
"A year ago, we went up to Evyatar and within a few days houses were built and roads were paved, a community bustling with life was established," Zvi Elimelech Sharbaf, the chairman of Nachala, said at the conference. Daily protests against the settlement were brutally repressed by the Israeli army, who shot and killed at least eight Palestinians.
While all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal in international law, "Evyatar" is almost unique in that it was also widely considered illegal in Israel and settlers were pressured to leave by the government.
"They don’t want one Evyatar to exist – we will build the community of Evyatar 10 times!" Sharbaf added.
The settlers living there agreed to leave in July after reaching agreement with Tel-Aviv, although they kept building until the day of their departure.
Their promise to go was reportedly secured as part of a pact that could still see settlement permitted after a probe into Palestinian private property rights. Until then, the houses remain standing, under Israeli army protection.
Settlements in Israel are illegal under international law.