Israeli settlers removed from West Bank outpost

Israeli settlers removed from West Bank outpost

European Union is strongly opposed to the Israeli government's recent announcement to build 3,000 new settlements in the West Bank, the bloc's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Wednesday.

Around 330 settlers live in Amona, the largest of numerous outposts built without official authorisation on privately-owned Palestinian land.

"Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have chose to authorise the construction of 3,000 new housing units", the defence ministry said late on Tuesday.

The global community considers all Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, and the United Nations condemned construction plans last week.

Around 600,000 Israelis now live in more than 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The court later set February 8 as the final date for demolition.

The eviction operation came as Israel approved the construction of 3,000 new settlement homes at other locations in the West Bank. About 200 activists, the majority of which were youth and teenagers, were protesting at the entrance to Amona.

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Costa Rica and El Salvador were there until a few years ago, but they are now in Tel Aviv. Israel claimed all of Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided capital".

The bill has been condemned by Palestinians as a blow to their hopes of statehood but its passage may only be largely symbolic as it contravenes Israeli Supreme Court rulings on property rights.

"I'm going to deliver permits for thousands of homes in Jerusalem in the coming months", Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir had said at the time.

The army moved into the area after some 300 residents were ordered to leave the illegal settlement within 48 hours. The days of those photos, those insane pictures of soldiers and police officers that evacuate their brothers and sisters.

It is the third such announcement since the inauguration 12 days ago of US President Donald Trump, who has hinted he will be more sympathetic to settlement construction than his predecessor. The worldwide community views them as a major obstacle to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Palestinians want the West Bank and Gaza Strip for an independent state, with its capital in East Jerusalem. As such, Amona residents claimed that the Israeli government violated the initial agreement, prompting them to renew their campaign against the community's relocation. "The eviction Amona residents is very hard, and it pollutes the concept of 'rule of law.' I call on the residents to fight to support the Settlements Arrangement Law, and to remain the pioneers of the settlement of the Land of Israel".