(TargetLiberty.org) – President Donald Trump’s administration saw a rapid rise in the population of Israel’s settlements. A new report released Wednesday shows that while the Jewish state’s total population showed healthy growth from early 2017 to January 2021, the settlement population expanded even faster.
On January 27, a pro-settler group called West Bank Jewish Population released a report based on official Israeli government figures that showed the Israeli population grew by 8% between President Trump’s inauguration and this January 2021. The population of settlements on traditionally Jewish land outside Israel’s 1948 borders increased by 13% – more than one and a half times as much.
While previous US presidents have been ambiguous about Israeli policy, President Trump had an excellent relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and fully supported his government.
President Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Moves US Embassy
For example, Trump announced in December 2017 the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move welcomed by Netanyahu and other leading politicians. Five months later, the US Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv, drawing praise from Israeli citizens and leaders.
Scores of Israelis attended the opening ceremony, many of them donning Trump’s trademark red “Make America Great Again” ball caps. A US Marine honor guard marched the national colors for the ceremony with First Daughter Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiling the new embassy’s carved seal.
There isn’t much a US president can do to directly affect settlement growth, but by making Jewish people more secure, it’s likely the Trump-Netanyahu alliance did encourage people to move to Israel’s thriving new territories. Now, the question is what damage the Biden administration will do to the relationship with our closest Middle Eastern ally.
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