Israel Legalizes Outpost in Response to Recent Murder

FILE: A general view of the Havat Gilad settlement outpost, West Bank, Jan. 10, 2018.

Israel's prime minister says an isolated West Bank outpost will be legalized in response to the recent murder of a rabbi who lived there.

Benjamin Netanyahu said at a Cabinet meeting Sunday that the government "will today regularize the status of Havat Gilad to allow the continuance of normal life there."

The prime minister said that those who try to "break our spirit and weaken us made a grave mistake."

Legalizing the unauthorized outpost, located "deep inside the West Bank," will enable it to receive government building permits and a state budget.

Israelis carry the body of Raziel Shevah during his funeral in Havat Gilad, an unauthorized Israeli settlement outpost near the Palestinian city of Nablus, Jan. 10, 2018.

Rabbi Raziel Shevah, a 35-year-old father of six, was shot dead near his Havat Gilad home.

There were calls for revenge at Shevah's funeral during a speech by Education Minister Naftali Bennett who said the only revenge should be the building of more settlements.

Israel does not approve all settlements. The unapproved ones are known as outposts and tend to be populated by hardline religious nationalists who see the entire West Bank as part of Israel.

Israeli settlements are seen as illegal under international law and major obstacles to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The anti-settlement Peace Now group says the legalizing of Havat Gilad is a "cynical exploitation" of Shevah's murder.