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Israel doubles its budget for settlers monitoring Palestinian activities in occupied West Bank

Jerusalem24 Nadeen Alshaer – The National Mission Ministry, the body overseeing settlements in the occupied West Bank, is intending to double the budget allocated to settlers to monitor Palestinian construction in Area C, Haaretz reports.

A total of 40 million shekels are to be allocated under the leadership of the National Mission Minister, Orit Strock (herself a settler and far-right politician) after the Knesset passes the state budget.

Israeli settlers track and report Palestinian construction and agricultural activities to the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli army through “land departments”, formed within the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. These departments have no powers to enforce any kind of action over what they see as “illegal” Palestinian activities, but according to Haaretz, the department inspectors can put pressure on the Civil Administration to do so.

In 2020, the National Mission Ministry – then the Settlement Ministry – said that it would allocate 20 million shekels to the “land departments” in the occupied West Bank settlements.

Haaretz reports that these budgets could be used to hire members to join the inspection units and purchase aerial photos, drones, tables, and vehicles, in addition to funding fencing and road-clearing by settlers in Area C as well as other infrastructure settlers install to block Palestinians from their lands and prevent “unauthorized land use” by Palestinians.

Israeli settlers can also call a hotline by the Civil Administration, the so-called “War Room C”, to report Palestinian construction as a part of what Israel calls “the campaign for Area C” – the belief, Haaretz writes, that Area C of the occupied West Bank is sovereign Israeli territory, and that Palestinians are attempting to stage a “takeover” of the land.

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