The arrival of new Biden led US administration is on the way to the office, and the Palestine lobby of the hard left-Islamist thinks it can now pressure Israel, which it had wanted to do throughout the Trump administration. The Netanyahu led Israel on Monday advanced plans to build 800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
With the countdown of the Trump administration in its last leg and Biden getting ready to assume office, Israel has gone ahead with further consolidation and annexation of territories in the West Bank.
Even though the Biden administration will not like this move, and the Palestine lobby may very well seek action against Israel, Netanyahu has gone ahead with it. The other fact is that even the Israeli lobby is really powerful, and one can say that it is the most powerful lobby in the USA. Thus, it will not be possible for the likes of Ilhan Omar will hold no water when it comes to practical actions.
In addition to this, the Biden campaign held online meetings for Jewish mayors featuring Doug Emhoff, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ husband. This also emphasises the relationship of the Vice President with the Jewish as well as Israeli lobby. If all this is considered, the action by Netanyahu makes a lot more sense.
AP reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the move, saying it would include 100 homes in a settlement where an Israeli woman was killed last month in an attack allegedly carried out by a Palestinian assailant. The spree of normalisation of relations with the MENA (the Middle East & North Africa) countries has given it the political flexibility to go ahead with this plan.
The Palestinian lobby within the Democratic Party has had its plans shattered with the Abraha Accords and the changing dynamics in the Middle East, however, they wanted to claim a moral victory by making sure that the Israelis can be stopped from further consolidating the West Bank as Biden assumes the office. But the move has come as a surprise and has left no space for even a moral victory for the lobby.
The move has domestic reasons too. The announcement will burnish Netanyahu’s right-wing credentials in a tough campaign ahead of the March elections. Israel took control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the aftermath of the 1967 war, which was an attempt by Arab countries to defeat the Jewish country, but ended up in their own defeats. Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in settlements scattered across the West Bank. And this is why the Netanyahu government is trying to consolidate its hold by building new settler homes.
The Palestinians view settlements as a violation of international law and an obstacle to peace, a position with wide international support. The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry condemned the latest announcement, accusing Israel of “racing against time” to build settlements before President-elect Biden assumes office.
The announcement said that 100 homes would-be built-in Tel Menashe, a West Bank settlement where Esther Horgan, a 53-year-old mother of six, was killed last month while jogging in a nearby forest. Israel says it has detained a Palestinian suspect in the attack. The move will help, Netanyahu capitalise on these emotive issues and building settlements in the region where the women were killed, makes it all the more apparent.