Emboldened by Trump, Israel OKs New Settlements

Netanyahu regularly ran into friction from Obama White House
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 24, 2017 10:25 AM CST
Emboldened by Trump, Israel OKs New Settlements
The Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim looms over Arab Bedouin shacks in the West Bank.   (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Israel said Tuesday it approved 2,500 new settler homes in the West Bank, a controversial moves that signals a major ramp-up of construction just days after the swearing-in of President Trump, whose election has emboldened the settlement movement, reports the AP. Trump is widely expected to be more sympathetic to Israel's settlement policies than the fiercely critical Obama administration, and has also vowed to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Israel's nationalist government has welcomed the prospective change in policy, but it also risks igniting Palestinian or even regional unrest.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on the approval "in response to housing needs." He said the majority of the housing units will be built in settlement "blocs," areas where most settlers live and which Israel wants to keep under its control under any future peace deal with the Palestinians. Some 100 homes were slated for two smaller settlements. The Palestinians want the West Bank, as well the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem—areas captured by Israel in the 1967 war—for their hoped-for state. They, along with much of the international community, view settlements as illegal. (More Israel stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.