Settlement Monitor
Givat Hamatos
Ma'ale Adumim
home demolitions
West Bank

This quarter began less than one month after the 20 January 2017 inauguration of U.S. president Donald Trump, whose stated positions on settlements and the two-state solution, at times contradicting decades of U.S. policy, had far-reaching implications for Palestinians. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was emboldened by the regime change in Washington and the new administration’s lack of organization and experience. Within two months of the inauguration, observers marked a sharp increase in the demolition of Palestinian homes and in announcements of renewed Israeli settlement construction. In fact, just two days after Trump was sworn into office, the Jerusalem municipality approved the construction of 566 new housing units, which had earlier been delayed under pressure from outgoing U.S. president Barack Obama. And on 24 January, the Israeli government announced plans for 2,500 new settlement units in the West Bank. In early February, Israeli lawmakers passed the so-called Regularization Bill, retroactively legalizing the expropriation of private Palestinian land. As settlement plans continued to grow apace, the end of the quarter saw the submission of a measure extending Israeli sovereignty to Ma’ale Adumim before a Knesset committee. Some MKs were also considering the annexation of the E1 zone into Ma’ale Adumim, which would effectively sever the northern from the southern West Bank and create a impassable zone for Palestinians around East Jerusalem. Bedouin communities inside E1 resisted persistent expulsion threats and demolition orders, while the world’s soccer governing body FIFA refused to take on the issue of soccer clubs inside settlements.