In last days of Trump administration, Israel approves new settler homes in Palestine

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the planned construction earlier this week.

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A view of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar, Illit. (AFP)

Israeli authorities on Sunday proceeded with plans to build an additional 780 homes in West Bank settlements.

According to the anti-settlement monitoring group Peace Now, the approvals are widely seen as taking advantage of the last few days of US President Trump’s administration۔

Trump broke with decades of US diplomacy by unilaterally declaring that the settlements no longer breach international law.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the planned construction earlier this week.

“We are here to stay. We are continuing to build the Land of Israel!” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook.

שמח להודיע היום שנבנה 800 דירות חדשות ביהודה ושומרון, בין היתר בנופי נחמיה ובטל מנשה, יישוב מגוריה של אסתר הורגן ז"ל. אנחנו כאן כדי להישאר. ממשיכים לבנות את ארץ ישראל! 🇮🇱

Posted by ‎Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו‎ on Monday, January 11, 2021

The illegal settlement includes 500 houses in the West Bank settlements of Givat Ze’ev, Itamar, Beit El, Shavei Shomron, and Oranit.

The plan also includes more than 100 units in the settlement of Tal Menashe, north of the West Bank.

According to Peace Now, over 90% of the homes lay deep inside the West Bank, which the Palestinians seek as a future independent state’s heartland.

The Israeli opposition politician, Yair Lapid, described the settlement plans as “irresponsible” and alerted they would create further divisions with Biden’s administration, which takes office on the 20th of January (tomorrow).

He wrote on Twitter: “The Biden administration hasn’t yet taken office, and the authorities are already leading us into an avoidable confrontation.”

“The national interest must also be kept during elections.”

Israeli army destroys Palestinian village in Jordan valley | Al Arabiya English

Israel has stepped up settlement construction during Trump’s term, with approval or plans made for over 12,000 homes in 2020.

Israel illegally occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Currently, more than 450,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements in the territory, home to more than 2.8 million Palestinians.

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