US settlement announcement prompts Israeli calls for takeover

‘Now is the time to apply our sovereignty to these communities,’ says former Israeli justice minister of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories

Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem

Mon 18 Nov 2019


A Palestinian medic is pushed back by an Israeli border policeman as he tries to help a wounded protester near the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the occupied West Bank on Monday. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Washington’s announcement that it no longer considers Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank illegal has elicited a wave of euphoria from Israeli rightwing figures and indignation from Palestinians.

Senior Israeli officials and settler groups said the shift in US policy meant the time was ripe for Israel to take permanent control of the settlements – a move that is largely seen as an end to Palestinian aspirations of statehood.

The former Israeli justice minister and pro-settlement hardliner Ayelet Shaked thanked Donald Trump and the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in a tweet. “The Jewish People have the legal and moral right to live in their ancient homeland,” she wrote. “Now is the time to apply our sovereignty to these communities,” she added.

The Yesha Council, the main Israeli settler organisation, also called on the Israeli government to immediately claim sovereignty over settlements.

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