While the Arab Ra’am party won concessions making it harder for the Israeli government to demolish Palestinian homes when it joined Yair Lapid’s coalition, the central issue of settlement foundation and expansion was never touched on, leaving Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to pursue an annexationist agenda unimpeded.
The Israeli government has made its first approval to new settlement construction in the West Bank since Bennett became prime minister earlier this month.
The projects include a shopping mall in Mishor Adumim industrial zone, a school for children with special needs in Elkana, and yeshiva and synagogues in both Karnei Shomron and Kfar Adumim, as well as a small number of new housing units in Yitzhar.
Speaking on June 13 before his inauguration, Bennett vowed to expand Israeli settlement in all three areas of the West Bank – A, B, and C – in spite of United Nations resolutions condemning the settlements as well as the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank as violations of international law. Like many Zionists, Bennett views the West Bank as part of the old Hebrew kingdoms of Samaria and Judea, which were destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 BCE and Chaldeans in 582 BCE, respectively, and thus should be annexed into the Israeli state.
Jewish, Arab Protests in West Bank
Accordingly, since Bennett took office, settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem have pushed harder for proposals for construction and the displacement of Palestinian families to be…