Netanyahu: 'Israel says no to terror by approving a new settlement'

Palestinians clash with IDF troops during hunt for Havat Gilad killer

Palestinians clash with IDF troops during hunt for Havat Gilad killer

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his weekly Cabinet meeting that his government will legalize Havat Gilad to "allow the continuing of normal life there".

The approved proposal declares the government's intention to establish the hilltop community southeast of Nablus as a full-fledged settlement "on lands that are privately owned by Israelis or state lands".

Rabbi Raziel Shevah, a 35-year-old father of six, was shot and killed by Palestinian gunmen near his Havat Gilad residence in January.

"A month ago our dear friend Raziel [Shevach] was murdered and instead of sitting here and mourning we decided that we would not give in and we fought together with his widow Yael to have a cemetery built here, to have him buried here and to have Havat Gilad recognized".

The anti-settlement group Peace Now called the effort to legalize the outpost a "cynical exploitation of the murder". To those who sanctify death, we will sanctify life.

According to the IDF's land registrar in the West Bank, most of the land on which the outpost was constructed is privately owned Palestinian property, the Haaretz daily reported earlier this month.

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Israeli settlements are seen as illegal under global law and a major obstacle to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

It was illegally built as an outpost in 2002 in memory of Gilad Zar, who was killed by a Palestinian shooter in 2001 as he drove near the Samaria site. In a statement, he said the Israeli-issued permits were "nearly impossible to obtain" and that demolitions such as Sunday's, among other Israeli policies, "have created a coercive environment that violates the human rights of residents and generates a risk of forcible transfer".

The vote came as European nations voiced growing concern over settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory, but with US President Donald Trump largely refraining from such criticism, which many Israelis see as a green light.

Havat Gilad (Hebrew: Gilad Farm) is an Israeli community in Samaria which is outside the jurisdiction of Shomron Regional Council.

In a separate operation overnight Motzoei Shabbos, IDF forces arrested several Palestinians believed to have been responsible for attacking an Israeli man who on Friday inadvertently strayed into a Palestinian neighborhood, outside of Yerushalayim.

Ahed's Palestinian and foreign supporters say it symbolises the Palestinians' David vs Goliath struggle against Israel's decades-long military occupation.

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