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Israeli ministers sign petition to settle 2 million Jews in West Bank

Feb. 9, 2019 3:23 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 11, 2019 10:59 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israeli ministers and senior officials from the Likud political party and other right-wing parties have signed a petition to settle two million Jews across the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and ministers Gilad Erdan, Miri Regev, Yisrael Katz of the Likud party, Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett of New Right party, were among signatories on a petition to abandon the two-state solution and establish new Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank.

The signed petition was put forward by the Nahala Movement, an Israeli settler group, to promote an Israeli settlement plan introduced under the government of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in the early 1900s.

The main objective of the petition is to settle 2 million Jews in the West Bank.

Nahala activists have been recently protesting outside of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, demanding the next government to work toward the settlement of all of West Bank and to abandon the idea of a two-state solution.

Among members of the Likud who have signed the declaration are Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Culture Minister Miri Regev, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Communication Minister Ayoub Kara, Immigration and Absorption Minister Yoav Gallant, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, both of the New Right party, also signed the petition.

The Nahala Movement's declaration read, "I hereby commit to be loyal to the land of Israel, not to cede one inch of our inheritance from our forefathers. I hereby commit to act to realize the settlement plan for the settlement of 2 million Jews in Judea and Samaria in accordance with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's plan, as well as to encourage and lead the redemption of all the lands throughout Judea and Samaria. I commit to act to cancel the declaration of two states for two peoples and replace it with the stately declaration: The land of Israel: One country for one people."

The Nahala Movement said in a statement that the petition is an “ideological and ethical loyalty test.”

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

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