HEBRON, November 17, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers from Otniel settlement, illegally built on Palestinian land south of Hebron, Tuesday set up a tent at the site where two Jewish settlers were killed on November 13, local sources reported.
Witnesses told WAFA that a group of settlers from Otniel set up a tent where a settler father and his teenage son, both from Otniel, were shot dead last Friday at the western entrance of the town of Samou’. Locals expressed concern that this step might come as a prelude to establish a Jewish outpost at the site.
Settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights, both occupied since 1967, are considered illegal under international law.
The settler population in the West Bank is estimated at 531,000: in late 2012 the population of the West Bank settlements was 341,400; in late 2011 there were 190,423 individuals living in Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
B’Tselem the Israeli human rights group said, “The settlements have been allocated vast areas, far exceeding their built-up sections. These areas have been declared closed military zones by military orders and are off limits to Palestinians, except by special permit. In contrast, Israeli citizens, Jews from anywhere in the world and tourists may all freely enter these areas.”
According to a report by Applied Research Institute (ARIJ), “The consecutive Israeli governments adopted a policy to acquire much of the West Bank lands to build and expand the Israeli settlements by employing different methods; most renowned of which, “Security,” which is also, how Israel was able to restrict Palestinian towns’ development on the remaining areas.”
In a previous statement issued by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, she stressed that, “The EU’s position is clear; settlement construction is illegal under international law and further complicates efforts to find a solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Britain’s UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said in this regard that “the viability of the Palestinian state that we want to see and the two-state solution that is essential for Israel’s long-term security are threatened by the systematic and deliberate expansion of settlements,” reported the Palestinian Mission UK on its website.