Faced with the dueling condemnations over his massive settlement expansion plans, both by an international community that sees it killing any potential for renewing the peace process, and by settlers who wanted much more, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to focus his efforts to placate on the later.
Netanyahu insisted such massive expansions were the new normal, declaring this a whole new era where “we are going to be doing many things differently,” and declaring the huge expansion announced yesterday as “just a taste” of what is yet to be announced.
This appears to jibe with Netanyahu’s other recent comments, in which he declared that Israel would build with no restrictions in occupied East Jerusalem, and that a similar lack of restraint would soon be the official policy in West Bank settlements as well.
Israel’s far-right government is heavily dependent on the overwhelming support of the settler movement, and many believe since President Trump’s inauguration that Israel can more or less get away with anything without fear of any international recriminations. Many top MPs are eager to put this to a test with wholesale annexations, and Netanyahu appears to be trying to keep them satisfied with something at least a bit short of that.
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