Tensions in the West Bank are on the rise after the Netanyahu government announced it is meeting an attack on a family of settlers in Itamar with a new round of retaliatory settlement expansions further into occupied territory.
“They murder and we build,” insisted Netanyahu at a national television broadcast from the funeral. The announcement sparked condemnation from both the Palestinian Authority and the United States, which termed the expansion “illegitimate” and insisted it ran counter to the goal of a peace deal.
But the peace deal, realistically, has been dead for months, and the far-right government in Israel seems more interested in pledges that will satisfy its settler-heavy voting base than moves that might resurrect the process.
To that end, Interior Minister and Shas head Eli Yishai tried to outdo the revenge settlement announcement by proposing that the government set up an official policy of 1,000 new settlement houses for every person killed in the West Bank. Fellow Shas member Housing Minister Ariel Atlas embraced the call, adding that the killings were a great opportunity to “change the ratio and build in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.”