On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he approved the construction of 800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
“We are here to stay,” Netanyahu said in a Facebook post announcing the new construction. “Continuing to build the land of Israel!”
The announcement comes during the final days of the Trump administration and could be a message to Joe Biden. President Trump’s time in office has seen a massive expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.
According to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, plans for over 12,000 settlements were advanced in 2020, the most in a single year since the group started recording in 2012. Israel also went on a demolition spree in 2020, knocking down more than 850 Palestinian structures and displacing over 1,000 people.
President Trump has taken several steps to legitimize Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory. The settlements were considered illegal under international law by the US until the Trump administration reversed the policy in 2019.
While Joe Biden might take a different stance on settlements in the West Bank, it’s not clear if he will reverse any of Trump’s Israel policies. Biden has previously said he would not reverse Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.