Israel has issued tenders for 2,500 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, a watchdog said Wednesday, on the eve of Joe Biden’s swearing-in as US president.
On Sunday, Israel approved 780 new settler homes in the West Bank ahead of a March poll where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to face a fierce challenge from right-wing and pro-settler candidate Gideon Sa’ar.
Peace Now said the government had now published tenders for a further 2,112 units in the West Bank and 460 in East Jerusalem, the eastern part of the city annexed by Israel but which the Palestinians hope to make the capital of a future state.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 18, 2021
It accused the government of a “mad scramble to promote as much settlement activity as possible until the last minutes before the change of the administration in Washington.”
“By doing so, Netanyahu is signaling to the incoming president that he has no intention of giving the new chapter in US-Israel relations even one day of grace, nor serious thought to how to plausibly resolve our conflict with the Palestinians,” it said in a statement.
All Jewish settlements in the West Bank are regarded as illegal by much of the international community.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 19, 2021
But Trump’s administration, breaking with decades of US policy, declared in late 2019 that Washington no longer considered settlements as being in breach of international law.
Biden has indicated that his administration will restore Washington’s pre-Trump policy of opposing settlement expansion.
However, on Tuesday, his nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the incoming administration will not reverse Trump’s landmark recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)