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Israeli Government Looks for One Last Victory Before Washington Change
Sign at the entrance to the northern West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron. (WIkimedia Commons)

Israeli Government Looks for One Last Victory Before Washington Change

The Israeli government’s decision on Sunday to approve the construction of hundreds of new homes in settlements across the West Bank drew condemnation from Palestinian officials and the European Union, as Jerusalem looks to secure settlement expansion plans in the final hours of President Donald Trump’s administration. On Sunday, a government committee ratified plans to build at least 415 new houses in and around existing settlements, a move Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ office called “illegal” and a “preemptive attempt … to undermine any effort by [incoming] US President Joe Biden to relaunch the stalled peace process.” The European Union said Israel’s latest decision was “contrary to international law and further undermines the prospects of a viable two-state solution.” While outgoing President Trump during his term broke with long-standing Washington policy of condemning the West Bank settlements as illegal, and went as far as offering an annexation of 70% of the disputed territories by Israel, President-elect Biden has signaled he will adopt a more traditional stance regarding the Palestinian question.

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