The West Bank will be developed, the new hardline government of Israel insisted on Sunday, referring to the region as “our local Tuscany.”
Days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new administration took office and pledged in its coalition guidelines to give West Bank settlement expansion top priority, Haim Katz made the remarks. Leaders of the far-right settler movement are a part of his alliance.
Israel took the West Bank during the Middle East conflict of 1967 and has since been home to dozens of settlements housing some 500,000 Israelis.
The Palestinians assert that the entire region will make up their future independent state, and the international world agrees that the settlements are illegal.
Israel has threatened to conflict with some of its closest friends due to its determination to extend its rule over the West Bank.
Katz announced at a ceremony on Sunday that he would direct funds toward promoting tourism in the West Bank.
He declared that we would invest in places that may not have gotten enough support up to this point.
He continued, using the biblical designation for the West Bank favored by religious and right-wing Israelis: “For instance, our local Tuscany in Judea and Samaria.”
There is a minor tourism industry in the West Bank that includes wineries, hotels, and bed & breakfasts.
International human rights organizations claim that these enterprises further entrench Israeli authority over the occupied territories, while Israel views them as a part of the country’s more significant tourism industry.
In 2018, Airbnb announced it would prohibit listings in Israeli settlements, but it swiftly changed its mind after intense Israeli lobbying. Booking.com announced a year ago that it would add cautions to its listings there.
The U.N. on Friday The General Assembly requested an opinion from the top court of the United Nations on the validity of Israeli policy in the occupied West Bank.
According to Netanyahu, Israel is not required to cooperate with the International Court of Justice, and the resolution is “disgraceful.”