Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the construction of at least 800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank just a few days before US President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony. The outgoing US President Donald Trump has backed Israel’s settlement projects with its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even visiting the region in November 2020. However, Biden has been reportedly critical of Netanyahu’s policies regarding the West Bank and has even indicated that US might reserve Trump’s US policy on the same.
While Netanyahu’s government has been expanding its occupation in the West bank and had earlier said that 100 new units were to be constructed in the Tal Menashe settlement, Palestinians have condemned the move as “illegal”. Several nations across the globe have viewed Israeli settlements violating international law. As per media reports, there are at least 450,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank who are living with 2.8 million Palestinians.
Netanyahu utilised Trump administration’s support to pursue staunchly right-wind and pro-settler policies is again boosting his campaign trail to secure victory in the snap elections coming up in March. The Tal Menashe settlement, where Netanyahu has ordered new construction, is also the place where an Israeli woman was reportedly killed in an attack allegedly carried by a Palestinian. With US’ backing, Israel had remained successful in building more units in places where Israelis were attacked by Palestinians, reportedly as revenge.
As per reports, the Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has described the settlement plans as “irresponsible” and even cautioned that it can create new divisions with the incoming US administration that would take over on January 20. Taking to Twitter, Lapid had warned that the Biden administration has not yet taken over the office and the Israeli government is already leading Israel into an “unnecessary confrontation”. He added, “The national interest must also be maintained during elections.”