The Israeli government approved thousands of new homes in Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank on Tuesday night, said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in a statement. This followed last week’s announcement of 2,500 new West Bank homes and hundreds more in East Jerusalem.
“We are in a new period in which life in Judea and Samaria is back on track,” Lieberman said in the statement, using the biblical terms for the West Bank.
Settlers and their government supporters have been emboldened by President Donald Trump, who has signaled that he will be more lenient on Jewish settlement building in the area Palestinians claim as their future state than his predecessor, Barack Obama. The international community considers settlements illegal, which Israel rejects.
The announcement of the 3,000 new homes in 13 different settlements came as Israeli security forces were preparing to evacuate Amona, a wildcat outpost of 50 families which was built on private Palestinian land.
The settlement announcement was widely seen as an effort to calm the outrage over the Amona evacuation. On Wednesday morning, more than a thousand youth had amassed in Amona to protest the eviction. They threw rocks at security forces, lit furniture on fire and blocked the entrances to the outpost, according to reporters on the scene.