Israel to triple size of West Bank settlement Amihai

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords and until the end of the Obama Administration, Israel has largely refrained from creating new settlements.

By
August 8, 2018 17:36
2 minute read.
THE NEWLY built settlement of Amihai seen from the vinyards of Meshek Achiya just north of the Shilo

THE NEWLY built settlement of Amihai seen from the vinyards of Meshek Achiya just north of the Shiloh Valley July 12, 2018 . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Israel plans to triple the area of the newly created Amihai settlement, so that its boundaries would include the Adei Ad outpost.

Such a move would allow for the legalization of Adei Ad, which was first built in 1998 with NIS 2.9 million from the Ministry of Construction and Housing.

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According to the Talia Sasson’s 2005 outpost report, it was never approved by the government or the Ministry of Defense. It is located on both state and private Palestinian property. Both Adei Ad and Amihai are located a short distance away from the Shiloh settlement.

The Civil Administration sent a letter to the left-wing NGO Yesh Din stating its intention to increase Amihai’s boundaries.

The group had petitioned the High Court of Justice against the Adei Ad outpost in 2014 on behalf of four nearby Palestinian communities; Turmus Aya, Karyut, Jalud and Mughair.

It has asked the court to evacuate the outpost, because it was illegally built and its presence causes harm to the nearby Palestinian communities. The state has already told the court that it plans to legalize it.

Adei Ad is one of some 70 outposts which Israel in working on authorizing. In cases where an outpost is located outside of a settlement, like Adei Ad, Israel’s preference has been to expand the boundaries of West Bank communities rather than creating a new settlement.

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Since the 1993 Oslo Accords and until the end of the Obama Administration, Israel has largely refrained from creating new settlements.

It is unclear if it will continue this policy under the Trump Administration. For the first time in 25 years, Israel created an entirely new settlement in 2017, when it authorized the Amihai community for the 40 families who had lived in the evacuated Amona outpost.

In 2018, Israel agreed to transform the Havat Gilad outpost into a new settlement, either in its current location or nearby.

Yesh Din charged that the plan to expand Amihai’s boundaries was an attempt to create a new territorial bloc in the heart of the West Bank that would also include the Jewish city of Ariel and the Shiloh settlement.

“This is a vicious and malicious expropriation plan with far-reaching implications, first and foremost for the residents of the Palestinian villages,” Yesh Din said.

It added that the villages had petitioned the High Court in the hope it would protect them against acts of vandalism, violence and property damage.

The creation of a new settlement bloc is part of the government’s plan to annex the West Bank and to legalize the outposts at the expense of the Palestinians, Yesh Din said.

Right-wing politicians in Netanyahu’s government have been blunt about their intention to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria and to increase Jewish building and development in that area.

They have pushed back against any portrayal of the settlements as a stumbling block to peace with the Palestinians.

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