Palestine slams legalization of W. Bank settler outpost

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday condemned an Israeli court ruling legalizing an Israeli settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Executive Committee, denounced the ruling, which legalized the Jewish-only Mitzpeh Kramim outpost, built north of Ramallah on private Palestinian land.

Speaking to Palestine’s official WAFA news agency, she described the legal decision as “a travesty”.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Jerusalem District Court ruled to legalize the outpost, which, it said, had been built with “good intentions” by Jewish settlers, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

“Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territory, whether on public or private land… is an egregious violation of international law and conventions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2334,” Ashrawi said.

She added: “It also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

According to Ashrawi, Tuesday’s court ruling “reveals how Israel distorts its own legal system in the service of colonialist expansionism”.

Roughly 600,000 Israelis currently live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem since Israel occupied the territories in 1967.

The Palestinians want these areas, along with the Gaza Strip, for a future independent state of Palestine.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and views all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.