Israel Announces New Settlements, Risking Biden’s Anger

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Israel on Monday advanced plans to build 800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, a move that could strain ties with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the move, saying it would include 100 homes in a settlement where an Israeli woman was killed recently in an alleged terror attack.

President-elect Joe Biden is opposed to settlement expansion and has pledged a more even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in settlements scattered across the West Bank. The Palestinians view settlements as a violation of international law and an obstacle to peace, a position with wide international support.

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President Donald Trump’s administration provided unprecedented support to Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians, including by abandoning a decades-old U.S. policy of opposing settlements. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last year became the first top U.S. diplomat to visit a West Bank settlement.

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