Palestine

Israel says will double settlements in occupied Golan Heights

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said his government intends to double the number of settlers in the occupied Golan Heights with a multimillion-dollar plan.

The project aims to further consolidate Israel’s hold on the territory it seized from Syria more than 50 years ago.

Bennett said the new investment in the region was prompted by the Trump administration’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the swath of land in 2019 and by the Biden administration’s indication that it will not soon challenge that decision.

“This is our moment. This is the moment of the Golan Heights,” Bennett said at a special Cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights on Sunday.

“After long and static years in terms of the scope of the settlement, our goal today is to double settlement in the Golan Heights,” he added. Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981. A vast majority of the international community considers the move illegal under international law.

About 25,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights, along with some 23,000 Syrian Druze, who remained on the land after it was seized by Israel.

The US was the first country to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied territory.

Bennett, who leads an ideologically disparate eight-party coalition, needs cabinet approval before his Golan plan can move forward.

 

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