Amid ongoing international criticism to growing Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, Israel is building industrial zones to broaden its presence
Amid Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's expansionist policy in the occupied Palestinian territory, Israeli authorities are building commercial centers in a move to contract Palestinians presence in the territory, as reported by Israeli newspaper Hareetz.
The move came amid promises to build new settlements for Jewish residents in areas unauthorized for housing construction.
Israeli officials approved the construction of 3,000 new settlement units in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as part of a massive expansion policy in occupied Palestinian territory. Since Donald Trump took the presidential office in the U.S. with top aides sympathetic to the settlement enterprise, the Israeli government has announced a string of new projects that will add more than 6,000 homes for Jewish settlers.
On Jan. 22, Jerusalem's municipality approved the construction of 566 new settlement units in east Jerusalem. The plans, approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, mark the largest recent announcement of settlement building by Israel. Marking the first time that the Israeli parliament has imposed Israeli law on Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank, Israel approved law legalizing thousands of settlement homes amid fierce international criticism.
The explosive law is the latest in a series of pro-settler steps taken by Israel's hardline government since Trump's election. Since Trump took office last month, Israel has announced plans to build over 6,000 settler homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, illegally occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians.
After ignoring a string of Israeli announcements, the Trump White House last week finally said that settlements "may not be helpful" for peace. But after the law was passed, it said only that it would wait for Israel's courts to rule on the legislation before taking a stance.
According to the law, Palestinian landowners would be compensated either with money or alternative land, even if they did not agree to give up their property. Critics say the legislation enshrines into law the theft of Palestinian land, and it is expected to be challenged in Israel's Supreme Court.
The Palestinians want the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, areas captured by Israel in the 1967 war, as part of their hoped-for state. The Palestinians want these areas along with the Gaza Strip for the establishment of a future Palestinian state. International law views the West Bank and east Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal. Roughly 500,000 Israelis now live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967.