– Days after U.S. President Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Israeli government announced its plans to build an additional 2,500 homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
In the past, such an announcement immediately resulted in an American condemnation. This time it was smooth sailing for the Israeli government.
It was a farewell message from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to former U.S. President Barack Obama. The two often clashed on the issue which put a strain on their relationship.
At the time of the announcement, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel “was resuming normal life in Judea and Samaria (the bibilical name of the West Bank).”
The right wing government in Israel felt restricted during the years of the Obama administration. Although settlement building continued, it was not at a satisfactory pace for Netanyahu and his allies.
Israel’s construction plans did lead to a Palestinian outcry. Their fear, together with the majority of the international community, is that the more Israel tighten’s its grip on the West Bank, the hopes for them achieving a state become dimmer. Palestinians see the West Bank as a critical part of their future state.