Report: Jewish Settler Population Surged during Trump Era

Israel is accelerating settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: via MEMO)

The Jewish settler population in the occupied West Bank has grown at a far higher rate than the country as a whole over the last four years, a pro-settler group said on Wednesday, a period that coincides with the Trump administration’s unprecedented support for settlement activity.

The report by West Bank Jewish Population Stats shows the settler population growing by around 13% since the start of 2017 to reach 475,481. During the same period, Israel’s population grew by around 8% to reach nearly 9.3 million, according to the government.

The group’s report, which is based on official government data, does not include annexed east Jerusalem, home to more than 200,000 settlers.

Jewish settlements are illegal under international law and widely considered to be an obstacle to creating a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.

Attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian civilians in the West Bank have increased in recent weeks.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration abandoned decades of US policy by accepting the settlements and released a much-condemned Middle East plan in which Israel would have been able to keep all of them, including smaller settlements deep inside the occupied territory.

Last year, Mike Pompeo became the first US secretary of state to visit a settlement.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

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