West Bank Sees 'Unmatched Surge' in Israeli Settlements Since Gaza War

A demonstrator brandishing a Palestinian national flag walks past Israeli troops, during confrontations with them following a protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the occupied-West Bank, in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near the Jewish settlement of Kedumim, on June 9, 2023. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)
A demonstrator brandishing a Palestinian national flag walks past Israeli troops, during confrontations with them following a protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the occupied-West Bank, in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near the Jewish settlement of Kedumim, on June 9, 2023. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)
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West Bank Sees 'Unmatched Surge' in Israeli Settlements Since Gaza War

A demonstrator brandishing a Palestinian national flag walks past Israeli troops, during confrontations with them following a protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the occupied-West Bank, in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near the Jewish settlement of Kedumim, on June 9, 2023. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)
A demonstrator brandishing a Palestinian national flag walks past Israeli troops, during confrontations with them following a protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the occupied-West Bank, in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near the Jewish settlement of Kedumim, on June 9, 2023. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

The West Bank has experienced an "unmatched surge" in the number of new Israeli settlements since the start of the war in Gaza, an Israel-based NGO has said.

The Israeli group Peace Now said in a report that nine outposts had appeared in the West Bank since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The West Bank, a territory occupied by the Israeli army since 1967, has seen a sharp increase in violence since the start of the war in Gaza.

About three million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, which is also populated by 490,000 Israelis living in settlements deemed illegal under international law, but recognised by Israel.

Peace Now said in its new report that there had been an increase in the activities of some settlers who are "marginalizing" the Palestinians in the territory, noting a "record" number of new settlements since the outbreak of fighting.

"The three months of war in Gaza are being exploited by settlers to establish facts on the ground and effectively take control of extensive areas in Area C," Peace Now said, referring to the part of the West Bank under Israeli civilian and military control and where the settlements are concentrated, according to AFP.

Several leaders of Israel's pro-settlement movement are ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, which has helped to create a "permissive military and political environment" that is favourable to the development of some settler projects, according to the group.

Acts of violence by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank reached a record high in 2023, the Israeli watchdog Yesh Din reported earlier this week, while the UN also recorded 1,225 attacks by settlers on Palestinians during the year.

In December, the United States imposed sanctions on dozens of settlers, who are now banned from entering American territory.



US Military Pier Operations in Gaza Suspended after Piece Breaks Off

US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
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US Military Pier Operations in Gaza Suspended after Piece Breaks Off

US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)

A part of the US military's pier off Gaza has broken off, rendering it temporarily inoperable, two US officials said, in the latest blow to efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said bad weather was believed to be the reason that the part had broken off. They did not say how big the part was or speculate on how long it would take for the pier to resume operations.

The pier was announced by US President Joe Biden in March and involved the military assembling the floating structure off the coast. Estimated to cost $320 million for the first 90 days and involve about 1,000 US service members, it went into operation two weeks ago.

Since the pier began operations, the United Nations has transported 137 trucks of aid from the pier - the equivalent of 900 metric tons - said a UN World Food Program (WFP) spokesperson.