Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- An Israeli report issued om Tuesday revealed that Israel went on a spending binge in its West Bank illegal settlements following the election of President Donald Trump.
20,000 new illegal settlement units have been built in the occupied West Bank since Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in 2009. Meanwhile, spending on West Bank settlements spiked by 39% in 2017, the first year US President Donald Trump was in office.
The report, issued by Peace Now Israeli organization, revealed that 19346 settlement units have been built for illegal settlers in the period between 2009, when Netanyahu came to power, and the end of 2018.
Hagit Ofran, a researcher with Peace Now, said it appears that Trump’s election has emboldened Israel’s pro-settler government.
“They are not shy anymore with what they are doing,” she said. “They feel more free to do whatever they want.”
Since capturing the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has settled some 700,000 of illegal settlers in the two areas, which are considered occupied territory by international law. Netanyahu directly stated that he plans to annex illegal settlements of the West Bank.
For decades, the international community and the U.S. have expressed concern over the settlements while doing little to halt their construction. But since taking office, Trump, whose inner circle of Mideast advisers have longstanding ties to the settler movement, has taken a different approach. The White House has urged restraint but refrained from the blanket condemnations of its Republican and Democratic predecessors.
“The Trump administration is undoubtedly the most friendly American administration of all time,” said Oded Revivi, the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha settlers’ council to cfjctoday. “In contrast, the Obama years were extremely hard for Israel. Now we are making up for lost ground.”