Skip to main content

Settlers launch hunger strike, call on Netanyahu to legalize West Bank outposts

The Young Settlements Forum launched Jan. 4 a hunger strike, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abandon his rapprochement with the Arab public and advance instead the legalizing of 70 wildcat outposts in the West Bank.
Israeli settlers gather at a junction with security forces arriving to block Palestinians trying to reach their lands confiscated by Israeli authorities, during a protest in the village of Halhul, north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, on January 4, 2021. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP) (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)

A group of settlers called the Young Settlements Forum launched Jan. 4 a hunger strike outside the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The activists are calling on Netanyahu to abandon his latest rapprochement with Israeli-Arab legislator Mansour Abbas and to legalize West Bank outposts before the March 23 elections. Head of the Young Settlement Forum Eliyahu Atia explained that he and three others from the group plan to start a hunger strike. He expressed his hopes that the number of people embarking on the strike will grow over the coming days.

The Young Settlement Forum, together with the Yesha Council, the settlement’s umbrella organization, and the Knesset Land of Israel Caucus, erected a protest tent outside Netanyahu’s office Dec. 29, shortly after publications over a deal between the prime minister and Knesset member Abbas. Reportedly, the prime minister agreed to legalize three unrecognized Bedouin villages in the south of Israel, in exchange for Abbas’ support of Netanyahu ahead of the March elections. Reports also claimed that Netanyahu agreed to cancel government plans for legalizing some 70 West Bank settlement outposts in the coming weeks, legalizing instead only three of them.

Speaking at the tent yesterday, head of the Yesha Council David Elhayani called on Netanyahu to distance himself from the Arab electorate, which are not his political core base. He specifically referred to the Jan. 2 visit by Netanyahu of the Arab town Umm al-Fahm, where the prime minister had his photo taken with an Israeli-Arab citizen who was the millionth Israeli to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. "Mr. Prime Minister, this week you took the time to get your picture taken with the 1-million-person to be vaccinated, but you did not find the time to call upon the Young Settlement Forum people and talk with them. They are your voters. They are your base. Don’t betray them. Don’t let your actions force them to choose another path. It is sad that we arrived to this situation where the leadership of the young settlers must go on a hunger strike. Whoever is not behaving as the political right should not expect votes for him," warned Elhayani.

As aforementioned, the settlers were hoping for dozens of wildcat settlements, mostly constructed on private Palestinian lands, to be legalized beginning of 2021. In late November, Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi announced at a Knesset plenum that the government will advance a proposal to legalize several West Bank outposts. Hanegbi also said that he had received the prime minister’s approval to advance this plan in cooperation with Minister of Civil and Social Affairs in the Defense Ministry Michael Biton from the Blue and White party.

Still, Biton himself said that Hanegbi did not clear the announcement with him, emphasizing that he will back such a move only if it has the attorney general’s approval. Visiting the protest tent Dec. 30, Hanegbi accused Defense Minister Benny Gantz of the government’s failure to declare it intends to legalize outposts. “We are going to work very hard to convince the minister of defense to bring a government decision with the prime minister of Israel,” said Hanegbi.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial