Bennett limits Israeli settlement construction, fearing US reaction: report

Bennett is set to visit Washington in the coming weeks, where Iran is expected to be at the top of the agenda, and is trying not to anger the Biden administration.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has cut down on building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Kan news reported Thursday night.

The prime minister originally approved 3,200 homes, however, in an apparent effort not to make waves with the Biden administration, the number was reduced to 2,200, the TV report said.

Several analysts have commented on the sensitivity of the issue, particularly due to the timing. Bennett, who before becoming prime minister was a vocal advocate for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, is set to visit Washington in the coming weeks, where Iran is expected to be at the top of the agenda.

According to some reports, the Israelis are presenting the plan for construction to the Biden administration as applying only to already-existing communities and due to natural growth.

In contrast to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to managing U.S.-Israel ties during the Obama presidency, Lapid announced – after meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June – that they had agreed to a “no-surprises” policy in an effort to keep the lines of communication open.

“In the past few years, mistakes were made,” Lapid told Blinken in an apparent jab at the former Netanyahu government. “Israel’s bipartisan standing was hurt. We will fix those mistakes together.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has also approved the building of 800 new homes for Palestinians in Israeli-administered Area C, seemingly to please the Americans – a move that angered the Yesha Council, which represents the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

In a statement by the Palestinian foreign ministry, however, the Palestinian building project is an “attempt to legitimize Israeli colonization” and betrays a “desire to entertain the international community and world public opinion.”