Days of Palestine

Sunday, January 29

After Trump, Israel ready to build 7,000 settlement units

Days of Palestine -

Israel to build thousands of new settlement units in illegal settlements in occupied West Bank, Jerusalem after Trump’s election.

Some 7,000 housing units have been frozen due to political pressure from the government fearful of antagonising Washington, said Meir Turgeman, the head of the Planning and Construction Committee in the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem.

Some 3,000 units are ready for approval in the illegal settlement of Gilo, 2,600 in the illegal settlement of Givat Hamatos and 1,500 in the illegal settlement of Givat Shlomo.

“We kept getting calls. The director general of the prime minister’s office would always call the mayor and say do not discuss these now, do not authorise, it is a sensitive time,” Turgeman told the Israeli radio.

While much of the international community considers these are illegal settlements, Israel considers them neighbourhoods of occupied East Jerusalem and argues that it will be part of Israel in any negotiated peace agreement.

The US has been opposed to Israeli construction in areas Israel occupied after the 1967 War, saying it undermines the prospects of a two-state solution.

Now that Trump, who has indicated he will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there, has been elected, Turgeman expects to be able to approve the new settlement unhindered.

“Now that Trump [won], I hope will put Jerusalem as a priority, I hope we are heading for a fresh start,” said Turgeman. “All these plans in Givat Hamatos, Gilo, Ramat Shlomo, all these have been waiting for two years at least.”