Israel Pushes for Settlement Expansion Before Trump Administration Expires
European Union representatives in Israel on Monday toured the controversial neighborhood in east Jerusalem where the Israeli government recently announced it would build over 1,200 homes, a declaration that quickly and predictably enraged Palestinians and Europeans alike. On Sunday, Israel’s Land Authority opened bidding for contractors vying to handle construction at Givat Hamatos (Airplane Hill), a barren slope located just outside the Green Line, which demarcates internationally recognized Israeli territory. The project was effectively frozen for years due to fierce opposition in Europe and during former United States President Barack Obama’s two terms in office. The surprise announcement by the Jerusalem municipality is widely viewed as an attempt to rush work through prior to President-elect Joe Biden taking office, since the current administration led by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears to be more receptive to the Israeli narrative regarding settlement disputes than the incoming administration.