Israel: Supreme Court ruling paves the way for more illegal settlements

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In a precedent-setting ruling that will remove legal obstacles for Jewish settlers to conquer more Palestinian land, Israel’s Supreme Court has authorized the Mitzpe Kramim outpost near Ramallah to remain in place.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and until now all settlement outposts have been illegal under Israeli law as well.

The decision overturns a ruling two years ago ordering the state to remove settlers living on the hilltops of Palestinians. However, the Israeli court has ruled that because the settlers allotted land to the settlers in good faith, they can remain on Palestinian land.

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It is believed that the precedent set by the ruling could pave the way for the theft of much more Palestinian land to house hundreds of illegal settler outposts facing legal challenges.

READ: Israeli settlements are a war crime, says UN rights expert

Israeli politicians and settler organizations have welcomed the ruling. Many see it as an open door to build illegal outposts solely for Jews in the occupied West Bank. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Mitzpe Kramim’s ruling as well as settlers.

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After the verdict, Netanyahu, who remains Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, said that when he comes back to power, he will work for the legalization and success of “settlement outposts and settlements across the country.” The ultra-nationalist Likud leader is a supporter of Greater Israel and considers every inch of historic Palestine Israeli territory.

An advocacy group campaigning for a two-state solution, Peace Now, rejected the ruling. “This tramples on the little protection left for Palestinian property” [in the West Bank]’, it said, adding that it will allow for the retroactive legalization of ‘settlers’ confiscations of land.

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