Israel starts construction of first settlement in two decades

Israel broke ground on its first new West Bank settlement in more than two decades, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring the move as a “privilege”, while praising his government as the best for the Jewish settlement enterprise. The new settlement is to be named Amihai, which means in Hebrew “My nation lives”, and will be built in the biblical Valley of ‘Shilo’.

“Here, the settlement of Amichai will be built and established for those evicted from Amona, and will strengthen our hold in the very heart of the land of Israel,” said Moti Yogev, Knesset Member – Jewish Home Party.

The announcement of the new settlement, which will house the evicted residents of the illegal settlement of Amona within four months’ time, came following a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump’s special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, during which the American envoy discussed with the Israeli leader “ways to restart the long-stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians.”

According to a senior Israeli official who is familiar with the contents of the meeting, the Trump Administration is trying “to understand the position of both Israel and the Palestinians.” Nevertheless, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, condemned Israel’s construction-start of a new settlement, which is situated on lands the Palestinians demand for their aspired state under any future peace agreement, defining the Israeli move as ‘an obstacle to the American efforts.’

“The resumption of these activities is a clear message to the American administration and to the efforts of President Trump. / This is an obstacle to the efforts of President Trump to resume the peace process,” said Abu Rudeineh.