Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that his country will never give up its illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
“We are here to stay forever,” he said in a speech to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.
“There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. It has been proven that it does not help peace,” he said. “We’ve uprooted settlements. What did we get? We received missiles. It will not happen anymore, he said in a speech on Monday in Barkan, a settlement near Tel Aviv.
“We are here to stay, forever.”
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank in the 1967 war, a move which has never been recognised by the international community.
“We are guarding Samaria [the Israeli name for the West Bank] against those who want to uproot us. We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle,” he added.
Netanyahu has made many similar statements on other occasions. The Barkan outing marked his third visit to the West Bank so far this year.
It is believed around 500,000 Israelis now live in the illegal settlements.
“His government recently announced more than 11,000 new settler homes in the West Bank, as well as the retroactive legalisation of 4,000 “outpost” Jewish homes built on private Palestinian land – bold moves believed to have been encouraged by US President Donald Trump’s unexpected election victory,” The Independent reported.
Trump is widely viewed in Israel, and the wider Middle East, as far more sympathetic to Israeli interests, including the contentious issue of settlement building, than his predecessor Barack Obama.
During his campaign, Trump had said the Israeli government should “keep going” with the construction of new settlements.