Israeli NGO Peace Now has revealed that, as expected, Israel advanced a large number of new settlement units this week. It turns out, however, that the expansion was quite a bit more than had been expected in reports about the plan last week, with 3,178 new housing units planned.
This announcement not only includes the formal creation of a new settlement, the first in many ways, and a large number of new houses in the big settlement blocks, but also some substantial new plans to expand the more isolated settlements across the occupied West Bank.
Expansions in the remote settlements are particularly onerous to any peace talks, as they further establish Israel’s intentions to keep materially the entire West Bank for themselves, with nothing to grant the Palestinians even a remotely contiguous state.
President Trump has been pushing Israel to “hold back” on any major announcements for months, fearing that they would do harm to his attempts to restart the peace process. Though Israel agreed to talks with the US on limiting expansion, they never agreed to any of the American proposals and have come out of the talks just building with impunity, irrespective of the very obvious harm it does to the already damaged peace process.
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