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Israel Planning 3,000 New Settlement Homes in Response to Fatal Terror Attack

12:00 Feb 23 2024 Israeli settlements of Ma'ale Adumim (מַעֲלֵה אֲדֻמִּים), Kedar (קֵדָר), and Efrat (אֶפְרָת)

Israel Planning 3,000 New Settlement Homes in Response to Fatal Terror Attack
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Construction at the West Bank settlement of Efrat last year. Credit: Maya Alleruzzo / AP Published by Haaretz
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Move will likely trigger outrage from U.S. officials - both in public and behind the scenes - as Washington attempts to maintain regional calm in the weeks before Ramadan

by Hagar Shezaf and Ben Samuels for Haaretz
Feb 23, 2024 1:17 am IST

Israel is planning to build thousands of housing units in West Bank settlements in response to Thursday's terror attack in which one person was killed and 10 wounded.

According to a statement issued late Thursday by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the far-right Religious Zionism party, the state will submit plans for the construction of 2,350 housing units in Ma'aleh Adumim, 300 in Keidar and 694 in Efrat.

The finance minister issued his statement after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held consultations with top ministers, including Smotrich, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer.

Smotrich added that the planned construction will be sent to the National Planning Administration, which is expected to give final approval to the units in Efrat. The units in Ma'aleh Adumim and Keidar still need preliminary approval.

Although there has been no official response from the United States to Smotrich's announcement, U.S. officials have been preparing a second round of sanctions following U.S. President Joe Biden's executive order earlier this month. Officials, however, have been waiting to see facts on the ground before taking additional action.

U.S. officials have additionally mulled further action targeting the settlement enterprise, such as changing two U.S. policies instilled by the Trump administration: reversing the order to label settlement-produced products as "made in Israel" as well as the so-called "Pompeo Doctrine" that deemed Israeli settlements in the West Bank as consistent with international law.

Both were significant changes from previous U.S. policy, and liberal pro-Israel organizations have lobbied Biden to reverse the policies since he assumed office.

Should Israel go through with the settlement announcement, it will likely trigger significant outrage from U.S. officials both in public and behind the scenes, as Washington has attempted to maintain regional calm in the weeks before Ramadan.

The announcement is further likely to harm U.S. efforts to push toward Israel-Saudi normalization - a key policy initiative on its own merit but also a matter U.S. officials recognize as key to establishing a pathway toward a two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian state.


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Israeli government announces plans to expand 2/23/2024
Israeli government announces plans to expand 2/23/2024
Israeli government announces plans to expand 2/23/2024
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