Israeli settler group raises millions for illegal West Bank outposts
The Israeli occupation is supervising settlement expansion that is in violation of its own laws, with one organization raising millions to fund settlement outposts.
Thousands of illegal Israeli settlers from Nachala, an infamous settler group, and Israeli occupation legislators established on Wednesday seven illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank. The settlement outposts were funded via a crowdfunding campaign that amassed millions of dollars with the sole purpose of expanding illegal Israeli settlements.
The very next day, the Israeli occupation forces evacuated the outposts, detaining and later releasing 11 settlers. Despite the IOF evicting the settlements, the settler group is still planning on expanding the Israeli settlement, pledging to establish new outposts within days.
Nachala is the group behind the notorious Evyatar settlement set up last year on Mount Sabih, which led to many protests from Palestinians against the Israeli occupation's expansion policies, and later turned into confrontations between Palestinians and illegal settlers as well as the Israeli occupation's forces.
Israeli law allows for settlements, but they are deemed illegal under international law. Despite allowing for official settlements to be built on stolen Palestinian land, Israeli law does not permit settlement outposts, which are makeshift settlements built by settlers themselves. However, "Tel Aviv" gave the green light to several outposts.
Though illegal, Nachala is constantly advertising its plans to establish outposts very explicitly, and it receives funding through its financial arm, registered NGO Guela Titnu La'aretz (the land shall be redeemed). Other means include its public benefit company, The National Fund for the Building of the Land of Israel, and donations.
The largest donation for the propping up of more settlements on occupied Palestinian land came for $290,000 from an anonymous donor, while significant sums also came from organizations abroad and within occupied Palestine.
Geula Titnu La'aretz didn't file annual reports with the Israeli registrar in the last two years, but the latest financial data shows it received as much as $140,000 in 2019. The National Fund for the Building of the Land of Israel received as much as $200,000 in 2020 - its recent filing said.
Just like many Israeli organizations, Nachala has a branch in the United States, Friends of Nachala Israel, though the latter has no website nor is registered with the Internal Revenue Services; therefore, information on its directors and funding is unknown.
The Nachala movement, despite the illegality of its plans, is backed by Israeli society and is endorsed by various politicians and thousands upon thousands of settlers. Even Israeli occupation Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked supports the organization, as well as various Knesset members.
Activists have repeatedly accused the Israeli occupation regime of backing Nachala, namely the municipalities of settlements, with Yesh Din executive director Ziv Stahl sending a letter to the US ambassador to the Israeli occupation saying: "This plan is being promoted by more than 20 Israeli right-wing movements and bodies led by the Nachala Settlement Movement, with active involvement and support from settlements and regional and local municipalities."
Regional settlement councils and settlement municipalities have provided the organization with infrastructure, namely road access, electricity, and water, as well as other necessities such as building contractors and various equipment, in a bid to help it commit its acts that are illegal even in Israeli laws.
"Tel Aviv" does not oppose all settlements, as its latest round of approving the expansion of illegal settlements came in mid-May, which saw it advancing plans for 4,427 illegal settlement units for settlers in the occupied West Bank.
The expansion of settlements has been taking place in the West Bank since 1967, despite occupied Palestine and the majority of the world decrying the illegitimate process.
Settlement expansion surged under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and during Trump's administration, and former PM Naftali Bennett is the former head of a settlement lobby himself. Bennett's government claimed it had different plans than Netanyahu's but follows similar policies.
About half a million Israeli settlers live in the occupied Palestinian territories, with many more even wanting to move there, Elhayani added, not taking into consideration the rights and needs of the Palestinians as they uproot them from their lands.
Ahead of the decision to expand illegal settlements, the Israeli occupation forces demolished at least 18 structures in the occupied West Bank, including 12 residential buildings, following a Supreme Court decision that would force around 1,000 Palestinians out of an area the Israelis had designated a firing zone.