On Sunday, the Israeli government approved a $317 million plan to double the Jewish settler population of the occupied Golan Heights.
The plan aims to build 7,300 settler housing units in the Golan Heights over the next five years. “The aim of the decision is to double the number of [Israeli] residents in the Golan in the coming years, meaning an addition of 23,000 people in the area,” the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
According to The Times of Israel, there are currently 53,000 people living in the Golan Heights: 27,000 Jews, 24,000 Druze, and 2,000 Alawites. Bennett first announced the plan in October and said his ultimate goal was to bring the Jewish population to 100,000.
First captured from Syria in 1967, Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981. The move was not recognized by any other country until the Trump administration changed US policy in 2019.
Bennett on Sunday noted the Trump administration’s recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory and said the Biden administration “has made it clear that there is no change in this policy.”