Israel puts Biden to the test with first settlement expansion of his presidency

  • The Bennet Government puts out to tender 1,300 new homes and finalizes the approval of another 2,000 more in the West Bank

The Israeli authorities they have announced a tender to build 1,335 new homes for Jewish settlers in the Palestinian West Bank settlements busy. This package adds to the more than 2,000 houses and apartments announced in August by the Government of Naftali Bennet, a project called to receive this week the definitive authorization of the Ministry of Defense. Both plans will serve to test the United States response, a country that has traditionally opposed the expansion of settlements, believing that they only serve to undermine the two-state solution.

This American opposition has rarely altered the plans of successive Israeli governments, which have continued to build settlements since 1967, no matter how much. illegal in the eyes of international law. In part, because that opposition usually results in vague statements, devoid of concrete reprisals. And that the US annually contributes more than $ 3 billion to Israel in military aid.

The State Department said Friday that it is “Concerned” about Israeli plans, the first tender for new homes in the West Bank since the Democrat Joe Biden arrived at the White House. Israelis and Palestinians, said spokesman Ned Price, should “refrain from adopting unilateral measures that exacerbate tensions and undermine efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution. ” Those efforts are neither there nor expected, despite the rhetoric of American diplomacy.

Double colonization in the Jordan Valley

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The new homes, put out to tender this Sunday, will be built in seven settlements, including those of Ariel (north of the West Bank), Beit-El (near Ramallah) and Elkana (northwest of the West Bank), some of them turned into cities so populous that it would be virtually impossible to evict them one day to make way for a Palestinian state. “Strengthening the Jewish presence (in the West Bank) is essential in the Zionist vision,” said Infrastructure Minister Zeev Elkin.

His government also announced that it intends to double by 2026 the Jewish presence in the Jordan Valley, a strip of fertile land that acts as a border between the occupied West Bank and Jordan in its southernmost part. Currently 6,400 Jewish settlers live in the occupied stretch of the valley. The first step will be taken with a public offer to build 1,500 more buildings in the Jordan Valley.

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