Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli illegal settlement activity in the West Bank surged ahead in 2019, a watchdog group said in a report Tuesday, maintaining a rapid pace that has drawn strength from the friendly policies of the Trump administration.
Peace Now, a monitoring group that opposes the settlements, said that the average annual construction rate of the occupation state has risen 25% since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, according to the Associated Press.
The report stated that Netanyahu’s government last year approved plans to build thousands of new homes, laying the groundwork for a sharp spike in construction in the coming years. That included an explosion in plans for new settlement projects approved early this year.
“In my opinion, they’re trying to take advantage of the window of opportunity that they have under the Trump administration, knowing that it might change in a few months,” said Hagit Ofran, a researcher for the group. “There was no such supportive administration for the settlements previously, ever.”
The West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied territories, where settlement is illegal, according to international law.
Surrounded by a group of advisers with close ties to the occupation state’s far-right, Trump’s administration declared last year that it did not consider the settlements to be illegal under international law. Then, in January, he unveiled a Mideast plan that envisions placing large parts of the West Bank, including all of the settlements, under permanent Israeli control.