Israel approves largest West Bank settlements in 25 years

Israel approves largest West Bank settlements in 25 years

Imagine the dilemma that Israel would have faced if it had withdrawn - only to face the prospect of ISIS-affiliated Islamic militias just above the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Israel has allowed plans for over eight thousand new homes in the West Bank, with over a third for immediate construction. "We also recognize that this victory inaugurated fifty years of occupation that has infringed on the human rights of Palestinians, left too many Israelis and Palestinians dead or injured, and continues to threaten Israel's long-term survival".

The Israeli media have been celebrating the "reunification".

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This is the most controversial step by Israel as the construction of settlements in the region is considered illegal under global law.

The Palestinian population of the city is much larger today than it was in 1967. The Israeli delegation to the United Nations condemned the ad and called for an investigation. Many of these East Jerusalem Palestinians are fluent in Hebrew and increasingly they are opting to send their children to Arabic-language schools that teach an Israeli curriculum.

In part, that is because of missteps since the Six-Day War on Israel's part.

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Israeli forces and security guards killed 32 Palestinian children in 2016, making it the deadliest year in a decade for West Bank children.

Bilal Abu Ghanem, 21, is escorted by Israeli prison officers at the District court in Jerusalem on November 9, 2015 to face charges of three counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder for carrying out a terror attack together with his friend on a bus in Jerusalem in which three people were killed. The "duty station" designated for the job was "Jerusalem, Palestine (State of)".

Netanyahu has found himself seeking to balance the competing demands of the settlers and US President Donald Trump, who has asked him to hold back on such projects for now as he seeks a way to restart peace talks with the Palestinians. It's unfortunate, but that's reality.

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