Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a memorial ceremony honoring late Israeli presidents and prime ministers, held at the president’s residence in Jerusalem, March 28. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli Security Cabinet approves first new settlement in two decades


Israel’s Security Cabinet gave the go-ahead for the building of the first new settlement in two decades.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Security Cabinet approved the building of a settlement for Jewish residents who had been living in Amona, a West Bank outpost of 40 homes that was evacuated in February, according to i24 News. It must now be approved by the full Cabinet.

The announcement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump said in February that he would like to see Israel “hold back on settlements a little bit.” Earlier in February, Trump had said settlement expansion “may not be helpful” in achieving peace.

Israeli negotiators said last week they would take into account the Trump administration’s “concerns” about settlement building.

“The United States delegation reiterated President Trump’s concerns regarding settlement activity in the context of moving towards a peace agreement,” the statement said. “The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel’s intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration.”

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said he would approve the establishment of a new settlement to make good on a promise he had made to the Amona settlers.

“I promised at the outset that we would build a new community,” Netanyahu told reporters. “I believe that I first gave that promise back in December, and we will uphold it today. In a few hours, you will know all the details.”

Israel has not established a completely new settlement since the early 1990s, though existing settlements have expanded since then and once illegal outposts have been retroactively recognized.

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