Israel approves more buildings in waning days of Trump administration

On Monday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the welcome announcement that Israel will approve the building of some 800 new homes in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). According to Netanyahu, among the buildings approved are 100 new houses for the Tal Menashe settlement, where Ester Horgan, a 53-year-old mother of six, was brutally murdered by a Palestinian assailant last month while she was jogging.

With Israel set to hold its fourth elections within two years in March, the decision by Netanyahu helps to strengthen his support from the right as well as settlers who are key to his reelection chances. The move comes just a week before the Biden administration takes office and at a time when Israel likely seeks to approve as much building in Judea and Samaria before the Trump administrations pro Judea and Samaria policies are replaced by the hostile policy views of the incoming Biden administration.

The approval likely sets up an early clash with the Biden administration which has made it clear that they oppose settlement expansion and seek to recommit to a disastrous two-state solution.

Earlier on Monday, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman spoke to the Knesset's Subcommittee for Policy and Strategy of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee where he called the recognition and building in Judea and Samaria one of his most significant accomplishments, according to Fox News.

"We succeeded together and making it stronger than ever before, making our nations more secure, more peaceful, and more prosperous," he stated. "And people, as my friends put down the list of some of the accomplishments, whether it recognized the capital of Israel Jerusalem, to sovereignty over the Golan Heights, to the non-illegality, if you will, of communities in Yehuda Veshomron (Judea and Samaria)".

He also called President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel the most important and consequential action taken over the past four years. Friedman said that the decision set the right theme for Trump's presidency, laid the groundwork for the peace deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, and strengthened the Trump admin around the world, Haaretz reported.

Read about the peace deals. »

“I think it strengthened the president not just here, I think it strengthened the president throughout the world. I think it strengthened him everywhere in the world because we took the position that America will stand with its friends, America will not flinch, American will not be afraid of its enemies or those who challenge it, and America will stand for the truth,” Friedman said.

Take a look back at what 2020 brought for Judea and Samaria »

As America and the world enter this next stage, it's important that the U.S. continue its support of our friend Israel. Unfortunately, the incoming Biden administration has made it clear that they intend to undo much of the good accomplished by President Trump and return to the days of hostile policies toward Israel we saw under Obama when Joe Biden was Vice President. This means it's up to us, as lovers of Israel, to stand firm in our support of Israel, especially Judea and Samaria. We need to support the Jewish peoples’ return to Israel to take part in God's work of restoration, and publicly voice our support to educate people on what's really happening today in the Land.

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