Netanyahu boasts about how much his government has done for illegal settlements on Palestinian land

Netanyahu boasts about how much his government has done for illegal settlements on Palestinian land
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that his government had done more than all its predecessors to boost settlement on Palestinian land – illegal under international law.
2 min read
03 August, 2017

Israel - New settlements

The prime minister of Israel told a settler community in the West Bank on Thursday his government was working "energetically" to build settlements on Palestinian land – illegal under international law.

Speaking at a ceremony celebrating the construction of 1,000 new homes at the Beitar Illit settlement, Binyamin Netanyahu said his government had done more for settlers than any previous one.

"No other government has done as much for settlement in the land of Israel as the government which I lead," he said.

"Our generation has succeeded in achieving what past generations only dreamed about... We have returned to our home land, and have turned it once again into a land of milk and honey."

The prime minister's visit was his first major inauguration ceremony at a settlement in eight years – a fact that locals said was connected to the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

"With this new administration, we think that there is no stumbling block before Netanyahu," said Yigal Dilmoni, deputy head of the settlers' main representative body, the Yesha Council.

The US representative for the Middle East, Trump's son-in-law, said earlier this week that peace in Palestine was not likely.

"There may be no solution," said Jared Kushner, "but it's one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on."

Kushner also dismissed the importance of the historical background to the ongoing issues.

"We don't want a history lesson. We've read enough books," he said.

Beitar Illit

Netanyahu also said he welcomed plans to build a road between Jerusalem and Beitar Illit, cutting commute times to the city by fifteen minutes.

The issue of Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land – declared illegal under international law – is one of the major issues that prevents a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

Palestinians say that Israel continues to steal their land, having begun the process with the establishment of the Zionist state in 1948. Conservative, right-wing members of the Israeli state argue that all of the land west of the Jordan river belongs to Israel and they are merely reclaiming it.

The UN passed an Egyptian-drafted resolution in December, calling on Israel to "cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory", adding that they constituted a "flagrant violation under international law".

Israel rejected the "shameful" resolution, saying it would "not abide by its terms".