Right-wing politicians in Israel are to push a law annexing one of the largest Jewish settlements after saying Donald Trump’s pending inauguration as U.S. president presented “a window of opportunity”.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, said this week he would move to annex Maale Adumin, home to 37,000 West Bank settlers east of Jerusalem, as a precursor to annexing all of Area C.
“After being here for 50 years, the time has come to end military rule,” he said. “For this reason, by the end of the month, we will submit the bill for applying [Israeli] law to Judea and Samaria and will embark on a new path. We will present to the cabinet a bill for applying Israeli law in Maale Adumim.”
Trump is expected to be far less critical of Israeli settlement expansion, and angrily criticised the Obama administration’s decision not to veto a UN Security Council vote denouncing settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law” last month.
Bennett greeted news of Trump’s election win by declaring that “the era of the Palestinian state is over,” and has since proposed ending Israeli military rule in Area C while offering full Israeli citizenship to the 80,000 Palestinians living there.
The West Bank is divided into Areas A, B and C. While the Palestinian Authority controls most functions in Area A, and responsibilities are shared in Area B, Israel controls Area C, including security and civil affairs.