The Israeli government—emboldened by the protection it is now guaranteed by the Trump administration—has launched a rapid set of expansion programs in the occupied West Bank, approving more than 3,000 new housing units and a brand new settlement—all on land internationally recognized as belonging to the Palestinians.
As reported in the Times of Israel—but ignored in all media directed at non-Jews—on January 31, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank, “some of them outside settlement blocs Israel hopes to keep in a future peace deal with the Palestinians.”
The precise location, size and scope of those “blocs,” has however, never been agreed upon by Israelis and Palestinians.
The 3,000 new houses consist of 566 housing units in East Jerusalem—a region formally annexed by Israel in 1980 in a move that was condemned across the world—and 2,500 homes in the West Bank.
In a statement, the Israeli Defense Ministry said the new construction “comes as part of a return to normal life in Judea and Samaria, as well as conduct which provides real solutions to housing and living needs.” Judea and Samaria are the Israeli words for the West Bank, used by Jews to claim the land on biblical grounds.
The move to build 566 houses in East Jerusalem was announced when Obama was still president of the U.S. After Obama voiced his objections, the plan was dropped from public view, but now that Donald Trump is in charge, the Zionist state is assured of support no matter what it does.
The Times of Israel said that Netanyahu had already boasted to his governing coalition “that he intends to accelerate construction with the new US president far less hostile to the settlement enterprise than his predecessor.”
The latest building announcements were just “a taste,” Netanyahu told Knesset members last week. “We are going to be doing many things differently from now on.”
On Twitter, Netanyahu could not contain his excitement: “We build and continue to build,” he said, shortly after the building spree announcement.
When asked about the building program, White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to comment, saying only that Trump would discuss the matter when Netanyahu visits Washington later in February.
“We’re going to have a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and we’ll continue to discuss that,” Spicer said. “Israel continues to be a huge ally of the United States; he [Trump] wants to grow closer with Israel, to make sure that it gets the full respect that it deserves in the Middle East.”
In Israel, Jews were more forthcoming.
“The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump’s arrival as president,” Meir Turgeman, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, told the AFP news agency. “We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama. Now we can finally build.”
The building program will further expand Jewish presence in the West Bank in an ongoing program which is ultimately designed to ethnically cleanse the region of Arabs.
In this way, the Jewish state aims to consolidate its own territorial security. As of December 2015, over 800,000 Jews were living in the West Bank territories, representing at least 13 percent of Israel’s Jewish population.
However, the continued expansions mean that Israel is setting itself up for decades of conflict with the Palestinians—and other Arab neighbors. This conflict will—as in the past—inevitably involve America as long as the Jewish lobby in that country continues to wield so much control over U.S. foreign policy.