x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Israel razes 'illegal' settler structures for Obama visit

Israeli forces today razed four temporary structures in two West Bank settler outposts, in an operation just 36 hours before a visit by the US president, Barack Obama.

JERUSALEM // Israeli forces today razed four temporary structures in two West Bank settler outposts, in an operation just 36 hours before a visit by the US president, Barack Obama.

The structures dismantled were in the outposts of Or Tzion and Ramat Migron near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Troops have taken down temporary structures in both outposts on numerous occasions in the past, but each time the settlers quickly rebuild them.

Israel differentiates between "legal" settlements and "illegal" outposts set up without government permission, but the international community views all construction in occupied Palestinian territory as a breach of international law.

Mr Obama is due to arrive in Israel today for his first visit since being elected president in 2008, and in order to avoid embarrassing diplomatic incidents, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly ordered a freeze on approvals of new settlement construction.

Israel's settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state led to a breakdown of peace talks weeks after they were launched in September 2010.