The first such announcement since the US presidential election, the planning committee in Jerusalem has announced plans to construct another 500 new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem. The units are to be built in the northern settlement of Ramat Shlomo.
Members of Israel’s far-right government have suggested that Donald Trump’s election in the US could allow massive increases in settlement construction, on the grounds that Trump has promised to be the most pro-Israel president ever.
Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti warned the latest expansion in East Jerusalem is a “very dangerous step,” and urged President-elect Trump to warn Israel away from such moves in the future. So far there has been no new comment from either Trump or Obama.
While Obama is still in power, the assumption that Israel can get away with pretty much anything is potentially risky, as there has been speculation that Obama might withhold a veto from an anti-settlement resolution in the UN Security Council before his term ends.