Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Israel announces new settlement homes will be built in West Bank

Move comes amid confusion over Donald Trump's plans for Middle East peace and the US Embassy

    Israeli Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu (file photo)
    Israeli Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu (file photo) Flash90

    Benjamin Netanyahu has bowed to intense pressure from settler leaders and announced he would authorise hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements.

    The announcement was made on the understanding that the United States would not condemn the new building programme, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said, although there was confusion over the precise number that would be built.

    The new homes, which are to be formally authorised by the West Bank Civil Authority planning commission next week, will include also construction outside the “settlement blocs” in places such as Hebron.

    Not all the settler leaders praised the move. Samaria Council leader Yossi Dagan, an influential Likud member who has threatened in recent weeks to launch protests against the prime minister, said that the announcement on new building permits was “spin and recycling”.

    “Every new housing unit publicised by the prime minister’s office has already been counted five times over,” he said.

    Since US President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, settler leaders have been urging the prime minister to approve buidling tens of thousands of new homes in the West Bank and to extend Israeli sovereignty to settlements near Jerusalem such as Ma’ale Adumim.

    Mr Netanyahu has so far authorised a few hundred new homes, but held off any wider steps, claiming that the new administration has asked him to exercise restraint as it is still working on its Middle East policy.

    The announcement comes amid mixed messages from Washington.

    Two weeks ago, David Friedman, the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, said in an interview with Israeli media that the settlements are part of Israel. The State Department however clarified later that the U.S. policy has not changed.

    Donald Trump boarding Air Force One on Tuesday. The president wants to give his peace plan
    Donald Trump boarding Air Force One on Tuesday. The president wants to give his peace plan "a shot" before relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem Getty Images

    Mr Trump, who promised during his election campaign to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, said over the weekend in an interview that he would like to give his peace plan “a shot, before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”

    We’re working on a plan that everybody says will never work,” he promised. “If that doesn’t work, which it’s possible that it won’t, to be totally honest, most people say it’s an impossible deal. I don’t think it is impossible, and I think it’s something that can happen, and I’m not making any predictions.”

    But officials in Washington or Jerusalem have yet to hear any concrete deals of such a plan, leading to widespread scepticism.

Analysis

Did Bibi care what it looked like?

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Did Bibi care what it looked like?
Analysis

Does the Netanyahu evidence contain anything new?

Anshel Pfeffer

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Does the Netanyahu evidence contain anything new?
News Features

Where now for the Jewish state?

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Where now for the Jewish state?
Analysis

Hamas has shown how it can set the news agenda

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hamas has shown how it can set the news agenda
Analysis

No more a shadow war

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, April 19, 2018

No more a shadow war
Israel

Israeli Labour Party suspends ties with Corbyn

Michael Daventry

Anshel Pfeffer

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Israeli Labour Party suspends ties with Corbyn
Analysis

End of Iran deal was Bibi’s moment in the sun

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, May 10, 2018

End of Iran deal was Bibi’s moment in the sun
Israel

IDF seeks non-lethal measures to keep Gazans from border fence

Anshel Pfeffer

Monday, April 16, 2018

IDF seeks non-lethal measures to keep Gazans from border fence
Israel

Israel and the Palestinians gear up for weeks of confrontations

Anshel Pfeffer

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Israel and the Palestinians gear up for weeks of confrontations