Europe’s underestimation, if not outright disinterest, toward the law passed by Israel’s Knesset on Monday night, which retroactively regularized nearly 4,000 homes in dozens of settlements, amplifies the Netanyahu government’s popularity and hardens the religious right’s influence.
Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home Party, won this historic battle without too much trouble. He only needed to wait a few years for the departure of Barack Obama (during whose term colonization slowed but never stopped) and the entry of Donald Trump. The paralysis of the international community was laid bare last month with the bland final declaration of the Paris Peace Conference, at which Italian Foreign Minister Alfano said proudly that he had given his active contribution.
“It’s a revolution,” said Bennett. He’s right. In two weeks Israel has authorized the construction of nearly 6,000 homes in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, announced a new settlement and certified 4,000 homes in dozens of outposts.
And the Knesset vote paves the way for the extension of Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank. Not all of the West Bank: It would apply to the settlements but not the Palestinian towns, to avoid a binational state with Jews and Arabs together, explained Minister Ofer Akunis.