Tel Aviv reportedly intends to construct more than ۳۰,۰۰۰ new settler units in east Jerusalem al-Quds after US president-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office in January ۲۰۱۷.
According to an Israeli daily, the project will get off the ground under President Trump as the New York billionaire apparently does not believe that settlements built by the Zionist regime in the occupied territories in Palestine are illegal. During his campaign for the White House, Trump had said he would recognize East Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel if he wins the election.
Meir Turgeman, the head of the Planning and Construction Committee in the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem, is quoted by the Kol Ha’ir newspaper as saying that the construction of some of the settlements had been frozen for the past two years due to pressure by the international community and the outgoing US administration.
“Now that Trump [won], I hope he will put Jerusalem as a priority… All these plans in Givat Hamatos, Gilo, Ramat Shlomo, all these have been waiting for two years at least,” he said.
According to the plans, ۱۵,۰۰۰ housing units will be built in place of the Jerusalem-Qalandiya airport, and several thousand will be in the industrial zone of Qalandiya (Atarot) and hundreds more in Ramot and Gilo settlements.
This comes as Israel's ministerial committee for legislation has recently approved a draft bill aimed at legalizing the settlements constructed on private Palestinian land. The bill, passed unanimously earlier in November, states that the Tel Aviv regime can order the confiscation of privately owned Palestinian land in exchange for compensation.
The vote has received censure from various rights groups, including Israeli anti-settlement Peace Now group. Hagit Ofran, one of the group’s directors, stressed that it is "a shame” Israel is backing "a law that will allow the confiscation of privately owned Palestinian land in order to build settlements.”
According to Americans for Peace Now, the number of Israeli settlements has grown dramatically over the past ۲۰ years, with the construction of ۱۱,۰۰۰ new settler units authorized under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Obama administration has already voiced criticism over Tel Aviv’s expansionist policies, considered illegal by the international community.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
Over half a million Israelis live in more than ۲۳۰ illegal settlements built since the ۱۹۶۷ Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under the international law. Tel Aviv has defied calls to stop the settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.