Israeli army escorts far-right march to West Bank outpost
Reversing a previous decision, the Israeli army provided security for a far-right march towards the evacuated settler outpost of Homesh in the hinterland, attacking Palestinians along the way.
The settlers had not received permission from the army to hold their march [Getty]
Israeli forces on Tuesday escorted far-right settlers in a provocative rally to an illegal outpost evacuated in the occupied West Bank, according to media reports, attacking Palestinians along the way.
The protest saw around 10,000 settlers marching towards the settlement of Homesh amid heightened tensions following Israeli violence against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz reversed his decision not to provide security for the far-right gathering in the occupied territories and negotiated with settler leaders to ensure the extremist march continued.
It comes after violence saw 27 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in recent days.
Far-right Knesset members, including Religious Zionist Party chairman Bezalel Smotrich, are expected to attend the march, according to Ha’aretz.
Although the settlers did not receive permission from the military to stage the march, they chartered 50 buses to take the thousands of far-right activists to the evacuated outpost of Homesh from the illegal settlement of Shavei Shomron, west of Nablus.
Israeli forces attacked counter-protesters in Burqa, northwest of Nablus, on Tuesday afternoon, with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society saying at least 32 Palestinians were injured in the violence.
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) April 19, 2022
Homesh was evacuated by Israeli forces in 2005 but unauthorized settlers continued to operate there, fueling tensions with local Palestinians.
Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 130 settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law.
While many resemble towns and suburbs, with built-up neighborhoods and shopping malls, more radical settlers have established dozens of additional outposts without Israeli permission.
Palestinians are repeatedly attacked and killed by settlers, while their property is also targeted.
Palestinians see settlements as the main obstacle to the creation of a viable Palestinian state, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the conflict.