Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said on February 25 that he has issued the order to construct 3,500 new settler homes in the sensitive area of the occupied West Bank. This comes just a week before the crucial general election when Netanyahu claimed to have given “immediate instructions” for the construction of thousands of units in E1.
However, the international community has reportedly raised concerns over this settlement in the sensitive corridor as it would cut the West Bank in two and also compromise the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.
The Israeli PM reportedly said that “we are building Jerusalem and Jerusalem's outskirts” and these remarks were even relayed by his spokesperson. Moreover, in 2013, Netanyahu had also vetoed the construction in the E1 corridor in the face of pressure mounted by the United States, European Union, and the United Nations. The new move by the Israeli government to build new homes which would also create the neighbourhood of Maale Adumim, a nearby settlement town.
Netanyahu's announcement was also welcomed by the Yesha Council, a settler lobby group which also acknowledged that plans for building the homes were in place since 2004. According to the international media news agency, Yesha Council head, David Elhayani said that the advancement of the issue “will enable broad and strategic construction between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem.”
According to international media reports, the US has prevented the construction of this neighbourhood since 1994 out of concerns that it might affect the territorial integrity of a future Palestinian state. However, also considered as the longtime settler dreams, Netanyahu is reportedly eager to get the support of settlers in West Bank with the elections being just around the corner. In the final weeks of the elections, Netanyahu has reportedly has handed out gifts to different constituents. This is also the third time Israelis will head out to vote in less than a year.