Israel Authorizes More Illegal Settler Homes

Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes. (File Photo)Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes. (File Photo)

Israel has announced the construction of 3,000 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the fourth such announcement in the less than two weeks since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

“Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have decided to authorize the construction of 3,000 new housing units in Judea-Samaria,” the defense ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, using a term Israel uses for the West Bank, a Palestinian territory it has occupied since 1967.

According to Aljazeera, since the January 20 inauguration of Trump, Israel has approved the construction of 566 housing units in three settlement areas of east Beit-ul-Moqaddas and announced the building of 2,502 more in the West Bank.

On Thursday last week, Israeli officials gave final approval for 153 settler homes in east Beit-ul-Moqaddas.

The plans had been frozen under pressure from the previous US administration of president Barack Obama, which had warned that settlements could derail hopes of a negotiated two-state solution.

Trump, however, has pledged strong support for Israel and Netanyahu’s government has moved quickly to take advantage.

Netanyahu has said he sees the Trump presidency as offering “significant opportunities” after facing “huge pressures” from Obama on settlements. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The international community considers them a major obstacle to peace, as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

More than half-a-million Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Beit-ul-Moqaddas, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

In a telling break with the Obama administration, Trump’s White House has not condemned Israel’s settlement expansion.

Israel has confiscated Palestinian land since its military occupation of the West Bank, including Beit-ul-Moqaddas, and the Gaza Strip started as a result of the 1967 Middle East war.

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