On Tuesday, the Israeli government published tenders for 2,572 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, a move seen as a message to the new Biden administration.
Publishing tenders opens up the bidding process for the units so contractors can purchase the rights to build and market settlements.
The tenders are for 2,112 settler units across the West Bank and 460 units in East Jerusalem. According to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, construction usually begins within two years of tenders being published.
“Our out-of-touch government leadership continues to press on with its mad scramble to promote as much settlement activity as possible until the last minutes before the change of the administration in Washington,” Peace Now said in a statement.
Over the past four years, Israel was emboldened to expand settlements, especially after the Trump administration’s decision in 2019 to no longer consider settlements in the West Bank illegal.
According to 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.