NW Week

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Israel has approved a plan to double the number of settlers in the occupied Golan Heights

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

Key Takeaways:

  • During a meeting at the Mevo Hama community in the Golan, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s cabinet voted in favor of the plan, aiming to build 7,300 settler homes in the region over five years.

The Israeli government approved a $317 million plan on Sunday to double the Jewish settler population in the Golan Heights, 40 years after annexing the territory from Syria.

It proposes spending one billion Israeli shekels on housing, infrastructure, and other projects to attract approximately 23,000 new Jewish settlers to the area seized during the 1967 Six-Day War.

“Our goal today is to double the famous of the Golan Heights,” Bennett, a right-wing politician, said ahead of the meeting.

Bennett stated that the Trump administration’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the swath of land and the Biden administration’s indication that it will not reverse that decision at this time prompted the new investment in the region.

Maintaining Israeli control over the territory would complicate any future efforts to reach a peace agreement with Syria, claiming the Golan Heights.

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During the 1967 Mideast war, Israel occupied the Golan Heights and later annexed the territory, encouraging settlement and agriculture and developing thriving local tourism industry.

Israel; Image from Yahoo news

The United States was the 1st country to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which the rest of the international community considers Israeli-occupied territory.

“The Golan Heights are Israeli territory.” Bennett stated, “This is self-evident.”

According to the Israeli military and Palestinian medics, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in the West Bank, where tensions have recently risen.

The Saturday clashes were part of a week of unrest in the area surrounding a West Bank settlement outpost and a spike in violence elsewhere in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to the military, hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks and burned tires during the clashes, and shots were fired in the area. The military used live fire and “riot dispersal means,” such as tear gas and stun grenades.

Source: BBC News

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