Israel broke ground on Tuesday on its first new settlement in the occupied West Bank for two decades, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, announcing the symbolic move on the eve of a peace mission by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.
“Work began today on-site, as I promised, to establish the new settlement,” Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter feed, which included a photograph of mechanical equipment digging into a rocky field.
He was referring to the construction of Amichai, which will house some 300 settlers evicted in February from the Amona outpost after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled their homes had been built illegally on privately-owned Palestinian land.
By highlighting the earth-moving work - no date has been announced for actual housing construction - Netanyahu appeared to suggest he believed he had little to fear from US President Donald Trump’s administration over settlement building that has drawn Palestinian and international condemnation.
During a meeting at the White House in February, Trump asked Netanyahu to “hold back on settlements for a little bit”, a request seen as part of an effort to build trust with the Palestinians ahead of a renewed push for peace.
The White House said on Sunday that Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, would arrive in Israel on Wednesday and that he and Jason Greenblatt, a top US national security aide who preceded him on Monday, would meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the ground-breaking “a grave escalation and an attempt to foil efforts by the American administration to revive negotiations”, especially (before) the arrival of the US envoys.”
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر