It is politically correct to state that Israel’s settlement policy is an impediment to peace and to the implementation of the two-state solution. However, the fact is that Israel has not built a new settlement on the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) for 20 years! Only the natural expansion of existing settlements has been allowed by Israeli Governments of the left and of the right. Note that PM Netanyahu, the favorite whipping boy of the liberal/left, has never approved a new settlement, against the pressure of his own Likud Party and his right-wing supporters, until now.
The Government of Israel has just approved the building of a new settlement to accommodate the settlers of Amona, who were forcibly removed from their homes after 20 years. This was in compliance with a Supreme Court order, after it was decided that the land some of Amona was built on was private Palestinian-owned land. In order to keep his Coalition together and in order to avoid a major clash with the right-wing over the evacuation, Netanyahu agreed to assign a new site for them to rebuild their community. Unfortunately no such undertaking was given to the settlers who were forcibly evacuated from Gaza, and their unfortunate plight has been an embarrassment to the Government.
The Trump Administration has let it be known that they would prefer Israel to adopt a moratorium on construction in the West Bank while they try to arrange a negotiation between Israel and the PA. But, whether or not Trump agreed to this exception or whether or not it in any way affects the negotiations is not known. Immediately the PA issued a press release stating that Israel was defying the UN resolution 2443 in building this settlement. Nevertheless, the Israeli Cabinet yesterday approved a resolution to halt all other construction in line with Trump’s request.
Israel has a legitimate claim to build on that land. It is only a matter of policy, to accommodate the opposition of the US and other Governments that Israel has desisted in doing so. Israel has more right to build on these parts of Eretz Israel than the US had in building settlements on Indian territory, and Britain had in building colonies captured from their native inhabitants (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. ) all over the world. It’s always a case of don’t do what I did.