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Home Occupation 29/July/2021 02:32 PM

Peace Now: The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture funds associations that work in illegal settlement outposts

Peace Now: The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture funds associations that work in illegal settlement outposts
Shabtai's farm, one of many illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by Peace Now)

TEL AVIV, Thursday, July 29, 2021 (WAFA) – The Israeli settlement watch organization, Peace Now, said today that the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture has given, over the past few years, approximately 2.6 million Israeli shekels ($800,000) to the “Hashomer Judea and Samaria (the Israeli name for the West Bank)” (AKA “Hashomer Yosh”) association which sends volunteers to agricultural settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.

In response to Peace Now’s query, the office of the legal advisor of the Agricultural Ministry admitted that the Ministry funds the association, despite the fact that the association works in illegal outposts, on tens of thousands of acres with no rights to the land, said Peace Now in a new report.

Whereas the association declared activity on 52,000 dunums, the Civil Administration, an arm of the Israeli military government that runs the occupied West Bank, approved land allocation for 8,719 dunums only, and that in six outposts of the total of 50. According to the Ministry, it “only” funds the activity in outposts where settlers have permission to cultivate or graze the land, thus does not intend to stop supporting the association.

Peace Now said that the Ministry’s response further reveals that it had funded another two associations who work in illegal agriculture outposts. The two associations (Kedma and Beit Yatir Preparatory) also declared to be working in tens of thousands of dunums, while only 8,719 dunums were allocated to the very same farms as of the Hashomer Yosh’s farms.

It’s important to emphasize that land allocation permission does not grant permission to build an outpost. At most, those who have been allocated land are permitted to cultivate it or use it for grazing.

“The Ministry of Agriculture takes millions of shekels of public monies and give them to associations which are intrinsically linked to illegal activity,” said Peace Now. “If the government wants to stop more outposts such as ‘Evyatar’ from existing, and to stop the small group of ideological settlers who allow themselves to set facts on the ground that determines the foreign and security policies for Israel, it must change its ways immediately and stop supporting outposts and illegal activities.”

M.K.

 

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