The Israeli government is preparing to pursue a massive surge in construction in West Bank settlements under a Donald Trump presidency, according to an article in the Jerusalem Post.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted to a meeting of his Likud faction that the deal with the settlers of Amona outpost “will allow more than half of them to remain on the hilltop in a different location.” He also “told the faction that Amona was just the beginning.”
“We will continue to strengthen and develop settlements, and I want to make clear: There is not, nor will there be, a government that gives more support to settling and cares more about settling than this government we, in the Likud, lead,” said Netanyahu. “This will continue.”
While Netanyahu has claimed he is looking forward to working with Trump to realise a two-state solution, the paper cites “sources close to the prime minister” who said that neither Netanyahu nor Trump “see West Bank construction as a hindrance to the creation of a Palestinian state.”
Meanwhile, coalition partner Jewish Home is reportedly “preparing a list of what it will demand from Netanyahu after Trump is sworn in on January 20.”
The party apparently “views the election of a president unopposed to settlement construction and the appointment of settlement-supporting David Friedman as ambassador as a game changer.”
Party leader and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett “said the list included applying Israeli sovereignty to Area C in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] gradually, starting with Ma’aleh Adumim [settlement], as well as steps to ‘naturalise life in Judea and Samaria’.”
Sources in both Likud and Jewish Home say that “the settlement regulation bill that would sanction some 4,000 homes built on privately owned Palestinian land would not be brought to its final readings until after Trump takes office.”