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For Israel, more unknowns than knowns with Trump

The Israeli right and defense establishment have found it hard to determine with any certainty what direction US President-elect Donald Trump will take on policy.
People dine at a coffee shop as an image of newly elected U.S. President Donald Trump is displayed on a monitor in Tel Aviv, Israel November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner - RTX2SSCC

Israeli political parties usually hold their weekly meetings in the Knesset. On Jan. 2, HaBayit HaYehudi held its weekly meeting in Maale Adumim, an Israeli settlement town located east of Jerusalem on territory that Israel captured during the 1967 Six-Day War and has since occupied. The decision to move this particular meeting to Maale Adumim at the start of the new year constituted a bold political statement.

Education Minister and HaBayit HaYehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett and his partner in the party’s leadership, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, have been doing everything they can to make it crystal clear that the age of restraint is over and the age of annexation is about to begin. In keeping with this outlook, Bennett announced that he plans to submit a proposal to the government to annex Maale Adumim. Bennett’s ultimate objective is to declare the annexation of all of Israel’s major settlement blocs in the occupied territories and apply Israeli law in them while the current Israeli government is in office. Bennett announced, “By the end of January, we will propose legislation to impose Israeli law on Maale Adumim. I expect all members of the government to lend a hand to this important initiative.”

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