Israel pushes ahead with settlements as Trump takes office

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The official said Jewish Home officials were skeptical of Netanyahu’s claims and would continue to push the government to approve the annexation measure. Netanyahu’s office declined to comment.

Such a move would cause a major clash with the Palestinians and the rest of the international community, which consider settlements to be illegal. The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war — for a future independent state.

Annexing Maaleh Adumim would be seen as undermining negotiations. It is also in a strategic location in the middle of the West Bank that could impede the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

In the meantime, the Jerusalem municipal housing committee granted building permits for 566 new homes in east Jerusalem. The permits had been put on hold for the final months of the Obama administration.

Building is planned in the neighborhoods of Ramot, Pisgat Zeev and Ramat Shlomo.

“We’ve been through eight tough years with Obama pressuring to freeze construction,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “I hope that era is over and we now we can build and develop Jerusalem for the welfare of its residents, Jews and Arabs alike.”