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West Bank. Helping hand: Israeli forces in the service of Jewish settlers (Al Jazeera)

Faris Salfadi points to his olive trees chopped down in the village of Urif by Jewish settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar [Al Jazeera]

Faris Salfadi points to his olive trees chopped down in the village of Urif by Jewish settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar [Al Jazeera]

The villagers of Urif are living in fear for their lives and property as illegal settlers based on a nearby hill – and Israeli forces backing them – continue to terrorise the area.

“We never know when the next attack will be, what damage the settlers will cause, and whether they will kill somebody,” said Samir Sawalna, 65, whose home is located on the edge of the village nearest to the Israeli settlement of Yitzhar.

Helping hand: Israeli forces in the service of Jewish settlers | Occupied West Bank News | Al Jazeera

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West Bank. Israeli troops kill Palestinian teenager in occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera)

A 15-year-old Palestinian has been killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank as Israeli forces stormed a refugee camp near Nablus.

The Palestinian health ministry said Imad Khaled Saleh Hashash died on Tuesday after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head in the Balata refugee camp.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian teenager in occupied West Bank | Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi News | Al Jazeera

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West Bank – Israeli forces kill Palestinian man in occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: A Palestinian man has been killed in Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank, the scene of confrontations between protesters and Israeli forces for weeks, Palestinian officials said. Shadi Omar Lotfi Salim, 41, was shot dead late on Tuesday near the flashpoint Palestinian village of Beita, the Palestinian health ministry said.

go to Al Jazeera: Israeli forces kill Palestinian man in occupied West Bank | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera

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Israel/West Bank – Israeli forces open fire on Palestinians; hundreds wounded (Al Jazeera)

Israeli forces opened fire on hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators who rallied against an illegal outpost in the occupied West Bank on Friday, with more than 370 people wounded including 31 hit by live ammunition.

Drones dropped tear gas canisters and smoke filled the air at the scene of the protest in the West Bank town of Beita, near Nablus, where Palestinians protested illegal land confiscation.

Israeli forces open fire on Palestinians; hundreds wounded | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera

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Israel/West Bank – Israeli settlements amount to ‘war crime’: UN expert (Al Jazeera)

A top UN rights expert has called for Israeli settlements to be classified as war crimes, urging the international community to demand accountability for a practice it has long deemed illegal.

Presenting his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michael Lynk, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, said the settlements constitute a “violation of the absolute prohibition against settler implantation”.

Israeli settlements amount to ‘war crime’: UN expert | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera

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Jordan/Israel/West Bank – Jordan, Israel agree to water deal; more West Bank trade (Al Jazeera)

Israel and Jordan reached a deal on Thursday for the Jewish state to sell an unprecedented amount of water to the kingdom, while significantly boosting Jordanian exports to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

The agreements, concluded during a meeting between their foreign ministers, signaled improved relations with Israel’s new government following years of strained ties under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Jordan, Israel agree to water deal; more West Bank trade | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

Jordan is one of the world's most water-deficient countries and experts say the country has been grappling with one of the most severe droughts in its history [File: Ammar Awad/Reuters]

Jordan is one of the world’s most water-deficient countries and experts say the country has been grappling with one of the most severe droughts in its history [File: Ammar Awad/Reuters]

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(West Bank/Palestinian Bar Association) Palestine: Lawyers rally against ‘intrusion on judiciary’ after controversial decrees (Middle East Eye)

Shatha Hammad

Ex-judges join the sit-ins to condemn ‘power-hungry moves’ by the Palestinian Authority in the absence of a parliament

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/palestine-lawyers-judicial-independence-authority-decrees

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(Israel/West Bank) Israel authorities approve new West Bank settler homes (Euractiv)

Israel on Sunday (17 January) advanced plans for 780 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, settlement watchdog Peace Now said, adding the move puts Israel “on a collision course” with the incoming US administration.

Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had last week directed authorities to approve construction of the units in occupied Palestinian territories.

That came less than two weeks before President Donald Trump’s pro-settler administration was due to leave office.

All Jewish settlements in the West Bank are regarded as illegal by much of the international community.

But Trump’s administration, breaking with decades of US policy, declared in 2019 that Washington no longer considered settlements as being in breach of international law.

US President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn on Wednesday, has indicated that his administration will restore Washington’s pre-Trump policy of opposing settlement expansion.

Peace Now, an Israeli civil society group that opposes the occupation, said that Israeli planning authorities had approved “plans to build 780 housing units in settlements, most of them deep in the West Bank.”

“Not only will this settlement activity erode the possibility for a conflict-ending resolution with the Palestinians in the long-term, but in the short-term it needlessly sets Israel on a collision course with the incoming Biden administration,” the group said.

A spokesperson for the European Union said the move was “contrary to international law and further undermines the prospects of a viable two-state solution.”

The EU statement called on Israel to “reverse these decisions on settlements and show leadership to rebuild trust and confidence between the parties, which is necessary for an eventual resumption of meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

Beyond the change in Washington, experts say Netanyahu also has domestic political reasons for pushing settlement expansion.

Electioneering is intensifying ahead of Israel’s 23 March poll, in which Netanyahu is expected to face a fierce right-wing challenge from Gideon Saar, a defector from the premier’s Likud party.

Saar, a prominent pro-settler voice, split with Likud late last year to challenge Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving premier.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu is once again putting his personal political interests over those of the country,” Peace Now said.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six Day War.

Following years of settlement expansion, there are currently some 450,000 Jews living in the West Bank amid an estimated 2.8 million Palestinians.

Governments worldwide largely see settlements as an obstacle to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.