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Settlers install mobile homes on Palestinian village lands near Nablus

July 31, 2017 4:35 P.M. (Updated: July 31, 2017 7:15 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers reportedly set up 10 mobile homes on private Palestinian land in the northern occupied West Bank on Monday morning, a Palestinian official told Ma’an.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that the settlers installed the structures on the outskirts of the village of Jalud in the Nablus district, in an area known as al-Khafafish.

A spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli military agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Daghlas said that settlers had leveled land in the area a few weeks earlier in preparation for the construction of Shvut Rachel East -- an illegal Israeli settlement that was approved in February under the pretext of compensating residents of the Amona outpost.

Despite Amona residents refusing to relocate to Shvut Rachel East, the Israeli government moved forward with its settlement plans on Jalud lands, in addition to approving plans for the Amichai settlement, where the Amona settlers agreed to live -- marking Israel’s first new official settlement in more than two decades.

Daghlas said on Monday that Shvut Rachel East would connect already existent illegal Israeli settlements and impose "facts on the ground."

Israeli officials have continuously referred to Shvut Rachel East as a “neighborhood of Shilo settlement,” and not an entirely new settlement, “despite being located far from any built up area of Shilo, creating a new and distant expansion to the settlement,” according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.

The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) released data in June showing a 70 percent rise in construction of settlements during the past year compared to previous year, with Peace Now warning of increasing numbers in the coming months.

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.

Meanwhile, although Israeli settler outposts -- unapproved by the Israeli government -- are considered illegal even under Israeli law, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law earlier this year, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.
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