Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is supporting legislation that ultimately would annex settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories that are home to between 125,000 and 150,000 Jewish people, The Guardian reported Oct. 3.
“In comments made at a meeting of his Likud party at the large settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, Netanyahu said he would support the ‘Greater Jerusalem’ bill. The bill, pushed by rightwing MPs, would annex 19 settlements around Jerusalem, placing them within the city’s municipal boundaries,” the Guardian reported.
“Ma’ale Adumim is a settlement of roughly 40,000 people just east of Jerusalem. It is considered strategic because it lies in the centre of the West Bank, and making it part of Israel could greatly hinder Palestinian statehood aspirations.”
In addition, The Jerusalem Post reported today (Tuesday, Oct. 9) that the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria is set to advance more than 3,800 settler homes next Monday and Tuesday when it convenes for the first time since June.
“Israeli officials confirmed the date after … Netanyahu came under repeated fire from settler leaders – particularly Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan – who feared the meeting would not take place,” The Post said.
Israel’s determination to settle Jewish people in Palestinian territories is seen by political observers as a hurdle to U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to jump-start a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Under Trump, the U.S. State Department has criticized Israel for continued building in West Bank settlements.