During March 2017, a delegation appointed by Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held lengthy discussions in Washington with the Trump administration over construction in the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria (aka the “West Bank”). No summary of those discussions was published, but on March 30 the security cabinet of the Israeli government informed the media that it had drawn up guidelines limiting further construction. Now, however, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman — who has direct responsibility for approving all such construction plans — has confirmed that “Israel is coordinating its settlement construction with the White House.”
He specified that “while coordination is not happening on the level of every ’10 [houses],’ there is general understanding between Jerusalem and Washington about acceptable levels of construction in the West Bank.” This would explain why, whereas under the Obama administration any Israeli announcement about even a small number of housing units would provoke ritual squeaks of protest from U.S. officials, the recent announcements of larger numbers have escaped loud censure.
It should be noted that such announcements commonly give an exaggerated impression of the scale of construction. This is because Israeli urban planning involves a series of stages of approval before actual construction goes ahead. Thus the most recent announcement, billed as “building at the highest level since 1992,” aggregates plans at various stages of approval, some of which were included in earlier announcements. To add together all such figures over a long period would therefore be mistaken because of multiple counting of the same individual housing units.
The new settlement policy was released to various media, such as here, where it is stated:
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