Israel to expand settlements in West Bank with Trump blessing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a 2,500 home expansion of settlements in the West Bank Tuesday.

In a statement released by the office of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the government said it approved the settlement expansion “in response to housing needs” in the Beit El settlement near Ramallah and other areas.

The Palestinians responded to the news by accusing Israel of attempting to sink peace deals and defying international opposition to the settlement expansion.

The election of Donald Trump, who has promised to be far more supportive of Israel than his predecessor, has emboldened Israel’s settlement movement. His campaign platform made no mention of a Palestinian state, a cornerstone of two decades of international diplomacy in the region, and he has signaled that he will be far more tolerant of Israeli settlement construction.

The White House said on Monday that Trump will host Netanyahu on February 15.

[VoA]

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