Israel uses tourism to tighten hold on occupied West Bank

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Israel has launched a tourism campaign in the occupied West Bank to increase support for retaining the territory in case of the formation of an independent Palestinian state.

Israeli settlers bring tourists to the territory which Palestinians consider as part of their future state, AP reported.

Some of the 300,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank are looking to tourism as a way to help normalize Israel’s hold on the territory it captured in 1967.

“They want people to think it’s normal there, that it’s legitimate to travel there,” said Hagit Ofran, of the Israeli settlement watchdog group Peace Now.

“They want people to think that those areas are part of Israel,” he said.

Critics say the campaign is targeting the majority of Israelis, who polls show are ready to cede most or all the area in return for peace.

Israel seized the West Bank from Jordan in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.

The regime is defying international calls with the construction of the settlements on the occupied territories.

The UN General Assembly will hold a meeting in September to discuss the formation of an independent Palestinian state.