Israel is a country located in the region of Western Asia. Benjamin Netanyahu has led government coalitions in recent years, described as the most right-wing in Israeli history. The settler movement with support parties has advanced its positions and a nationality law, adopted in 2018, receives criticism for discriminating against minorities. This has led to demands on the unity government, which has increased in the crisis caused by the virus pandemic covid-19. The unifying government, which has now taken over, intends to increase claims on Palestinian land.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal misconduct lies as a shadow of Israeli politics: throughout 2019 he had threats of prosecution for corruption hanging over him, and when the country went to re-election again in 2020, it was decided that he should be tried. But for his faithful voters, the charges have not been conclusive. The March election made Netanyahu’s conservative Likud the biggest party, after an election campaign so dirty that the country’s president lamented it.
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After the March elections, another awkward formation of government awaited. Benny Gantz, leader of the Mid-Alliance Blue and White, was given the job after President Rivlin’s consultations with the parties showed support for 61 of the 120 members of the Kness. But Gantz’s negotiations with the parties failed, and he has now agreed to join a unifying government. Netanyahu can remain as head of government, although Gantz is expected to replace him after half the term.
Israel thus avoids a fourth new election in a short time. But the price for Gantz is high: his own alliance Blue and White has burst. Both his alliance partners Yesh Atid and Telem believe he has failed them and voters. Gantz – whose partial alliance in the elections on September 17, 2019 became the largest in parliament – declared after the fall election that he did not intend to be part of a joint government with a suspected chief. Now that he has changed, he is surrounded by charges of fraud.
For Netanyahu, on the other hand, a trial is awaited based on Prosecutor Avichai Mandelblit’s decision: prosecution, in all the three cases investigated. The suspicions apply to bribery, fraud and unfaithfulness to the principal, which involves abuse of confidence. As a result of the pandemic, the trial got a new start date: May 24. But not even the prosecutor’s prosecution brought a cross for Netanyahu as head of government. A sitting prime minister in Israel cannot be forced to resign until a suspicion of crime has led to a conviction that cannot be appealed.
The role of religion
Two new elections in 2019 (in April and September) gave Netanyahu the chance to form government again. That he failed then was based on the fact that the contradictions between Likud’s intended cooperation parties – which could have helped him with immunity from prosecution – were too great. The profound contradictions that emerged were primarily about the role of religion in social life. Such contradictions will also be felt after the new election in 2020.
The eyes are regularly directed at Avigdor Lieberman, secular nationalist, former Defense Minister and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party. Lieberman is pushing hard for the requirement that ultra-Orthodox Jews also do military service. And he can point out that his party has stable voter support. (For Netanyahu, who could not get together governments without the support of both secular and religious parties, Lieberman’s demands have been difficult to handle. But even for Gantz, Lieberman’s support would have been free. Gantz also failed in 2019 to join him in a government.)
The question of the privileges of ultra-Orthodox divides the parties. Traditionally, ultra-Orthodox Jews have not had to do military service as long as they have engaged in religious studies. The Supreme Court has considered the exception as unconstitutional. There have been many tours on the subject. The prolonged handling has meant that the issue has remained a matter of contention and has given the religious parties – but also the secular Lieberman – the opportunity to condition their support for political alliances. Lieberman, for his involvement in the government, demanded an end to the exception for ultra-Orthodox Jews. The religious parties have not been able to accept that.
The unity government is the largest in Israel’s history. It will also be an exercise in collaboration. Lieberman, for his part, has aired the view that the crisis government is becoming yet another religiously embellished position, albeit with a few heavy army names (Gantz and the new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi) “as fig leaves”.
Consensus on other important issues
In heavy foreign affairs, the contradictions between electorate and parties are not as great as in the question of the role of religion in society. The peace movement that supported a two-state solution with the Palestinians has long been marginalized and out-maneuvered by Netanyahu. Admittedly, General Gantz has not been clear on how he views a possible Palestinian state, however, he also opposes a withdrawal from the West Bank, where hundreds of thousands of Israelis have declined since the land was entered in 1967. The cooperation agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz states that the West Bank should placed under Israeli sovereignty sometime after July 1. When this was presented during the winter as a feature of the Trump administration’s expected Middle East peace plan, the result was massive international criticism.
Netanyahu has built Israel’s policy on security issues, especially the threat posed by Iran’s arch-enemy. He has frantically opposed the 2015 international agreement with Iran on Iran’s nuclear program and rejoiced as the US withdrew from the 2018 agreement. Netanyahu’s governments have also not hesitated to strike militarily against targets in Syria, where Iran is one of the forces Assad’s regime helps (see Foreign Policy and Defense). Also, Gantz-led alliance Blue and White declared readiness to intervene militarily against Iran.
Blue and white was formed before the new election in April 2019. Strikingly many voters who were then interviewed about why they preferred Blue and White talked about “change”. Few seemed to think that change could come with the previously so influential Labor Party; the party made a historically bad choice. The following two new elections (in September 2019 and March 2020) have confirmed the decline of the Labor Party, but the party will be part of the new crisis government. This is despite the fact that party leader Amir Peretz previously (like Gantz) promised not to be part of a government with a boss under prosecution.
Netanyahu has worked with open and growing support of the United States, as President Trump’s favorite. Prior to the April 2019 election, Netanyahu also managed to get Russia to pull the strings so that the remains of a fallen soldier were returned to Israel from Lebanon before the election. In addition, he has started an exchange with certain Arab countries, with which Israel does not even have diplomatic relations (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
But Netanyahu’s moral authority is upheld. Both the Prime Minister and his wife Sara have been plagued by corruption charges, including that private spending is covered by state funds. The police had already recommended in 2018 that the prime minister should be prosecuted in all the cases brought forward, and it has been known that the RA really leaned on prosecution.
Contested national state law
Infront of September 2019 alliances were formed by small parties on both the right and the left, and among the Arab parties, this is so that votes would not be wasted because smaller parties do not pass the bar to parliament. For the Arab list, the Alliance became a success. Hate statements from Netanyahu against Israeli Arab citizens during the election campaign may have backfired on him; the games are believed to have increased the tendency of the Arabs to resign by going to the polls. Also in the new elections in 2020, the Arab parties chose to draw up a joint list. They have seemed to prefer Gantz as government, although they have little else in common with the parties that were part of Blue and White than they are against Netanyahu. United list leader Ayman Odeh responded to the message of the unification government calling it ”
After several years of debate and several amendments, a national state law was finally adopted in the summer of 2018. The law defines Israel as the “national homeland of the Jewish people”. It is based on the wording of the Declaration of Independence in 1948 and has its status as a constitution. For the country’s Arab minority, it means, among other things, that Arabic no longer has the official language status and that only Jewish holidays should be official (read more in the Calendar). Israeli lawyers and the country’s president have also criticized the law as provocative, arguing that it means permanent discrimination against the country’s Arab minority. A retired judge in the Supreme Court has argued that Israel with the National Law will be “a Jewish state, but no longer a democracy”.
The Palestinian issue
But what gave Netanyahu the opportunity to call the result of the 2020 election his greatest personal success may have been his election pledge to annex more land on the occupied West Bank, where Israel has already moved more than 600,000 of its own citizens, including East Jerusalem. Relations with the Palestinians tend to overshadow most other issues. Ultimately, it is about what will happen to the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem that Israel entered in 1967, but also about the Gaza Strip that Israel now controls from the outside since settlers and military forces were withdrawn in 2005.
Despite the acclaimed Oslo process, which achieved Palestinian autonomy and Nobel Prizes in the 1990s, relations between Israelis and Palestinians are almost frozen. On the Palestinian side, there has been deep division for years. The opposition to the peace was so strong that it first led to recurring acts of terror against Israel, then to a new intifada against the occupation and finally to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip getting each local Palestinian government. On the West Bank, self-government is exercised by parties that have agreed to conclude an agreement with Israel, while the Islamist movement Hamas rules Gaza and continues to oppose Israel. Israel, for its part, has strengthened control over both East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In the 2019 and 2020 elections, Netanyahu made it clear that with him still at the helm, it would be time to annex land on the West Bank. As a result of international opposition to the occupation, Israel’s major parties have otherwise mostly been cautious about pursuing such far-reaching demands, which – if put into practice – can puncture the two-state solution with the Palestinians that large parts of the world want to see. On the issue of settlements, the US president has signaled a new attitude. It provides strong support for Israeli claims (and at the same time gives Netanyahu a triumph of leaning against domestic politics as he struggles to stay in power).
The years since the peace process derailed have been troubling, with several wars between Israel’s armed forces and militant movements in Gaza (see Modern History). In the summer of 2015, an assassination fire occurred against a Palestinian family on the West Bank, which became the starting point for a prolonged wave of violence. Two young Jewish settlers are held responsible for the fire that claimed three lives: a toddler and the boy’s parents. Soon a Jewish settler couple was shot to death, in supposed revenge. Palestinians attacked Israeli soldiers and civilians with knives or by driving over cars. In October 2015 alone, 80 people were killed: ten Israelis and the rest Palestinians. The unrest spread on the West Bank and to Arab villages in Israel. Until the summer of 2017, 272 Palestinians, 41 Israelis and 7 foreign nationals were killed.
In Israel, decisions are tight enough, not least in connection with electoral movements, for the continued expansion of settlements. Hard-line ministers have been pushing to continue the rollout and legalize Israeli control over the land.
A law that would make it easier to subsequently obtain approval for settlements built without the state’s clear sign was adopted in 2017, but it has encountered resistance: in June 2020, the law was annulled by the Supreme Court. Since the preliminary peace treaties in the 1990s, Israel does have full control of just over three-fifths of the West Bank (“Area C” of the agreements), but without the legal basis for ownership. In practice, a lot of homes have already been built for Israelis on seized land. The law of 2017 would have allowed the takeover of land privately owned by Palestinians, against financial compensation. According to Israeli media, it affected a small part of the settlements: about 50 so-called outposts with a few thousand settler homes.
In December 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would endorse Israel’s supremacy over Jerusalem and move its embassy from Tel Aviv. While Israel was celebrating its 70th anniversary and the US Embassy, on May 14, 2018, staged Palestinians in Gaza opened a wave of protest. Every Friday, giant demonstrations were held in Gaza along the fence against Israel. Palestinians are shot to death by the army, who claimed that the protesters intended to tear down the fence and penetrate Israeli soil. The sharp shots against protesters faced strong criticism in the outside world, but were defended by the Israeli Supreme Court, which considered that what took place was not peaceful demonstrations but part of the armed conflict between the parties. Up to the end of October, a total of 218 Palestinians and an Israeli had lost their lives. Palestinians also used another method that caused concern: they fired burning torches, placed in kites or lanterns, carried by the wind toward Israeli territory where they caused fires. In November 2018, the Netanyahu government reported an unexpected ceasefire agreement with the Islamist movement Hamas, which ruled in the Gaza Strip and had been pushing for the protests: Hamas was allowed to receive Qatar cash subsidies for wages and fuel for power plants – in exchange for calm at the border. Since then, there have been a couple of violence stops between Israel and Islamic jihad, including across the Gaza border, but Hamas has chosen to stay out of the fighting.
Since 2014, no official negotiations between the parties have taken place, and Israel’s expansion of settlements has also caused the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah to sour and threaten to end all cooperation. Trump’s co-workers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, are behind the US peace plan that would consolidate Israel’s power over both East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Palestinian interest was non-existent even before the plan was presented in January 2020, not only as a result of the Jerusalem decision and the stated US support for settlement policy. The United States has also withdrawn its financial support for the UN organization UNRWA, which provides care and education to Palestinian refugees.
READING TIP – read more about Israel in the UI web magazine Foreign magazine:
Trump, Netanyahu and the end of the two-state solution (2019-05-04)
Israel hopes Putin can take away Iran in Syria (05/05/2011)
Israel turns 70 and must soon choosing the path (2018-03-06)
Obituary over the Oslo process (12/12/2017)
FACTS – POLITICS
Medinat Yisrael / Republic of Israel
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Reuven Rivlin (2014–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2009-)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
Likud 36, Blue and White 33, United List 15, Shas 9, United Torah Party 7, Labor-Gesher-Meretz 7, Yisrael Beiteinu 7, Yamina 6 (2020) 1
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
Blue and White 33, Likud 32, United List 13, Shas 9, Yisrael Beiteinu 8, United Torah Party 7, Yamina 7, Labor Party-Gesher 6, Democracy Camp 5 (2019) 2
71 percent in the March 2020 parliamentary elections, 69 percent in the September 2019 parliamentary elections
parliamentary elections 2024
- Nvyal in March.
2. New elections in September.Sources
A core of Jewish tradition is the hope of Jerusalem: that Jews scattered throughout the world should gather there. Jerusalem is now under Jewish control, but even Muslims and Christians reverence the city and want to be there. Those who are Palestinians also hope, just like Israelis, to have Jerusalem as their capital.
For two thousand years, notions of Jerusalem were a kit that kept Jews scattered throughout the world. The children, regardless of their place of residence, have learned about Jewish temples found in Jerusalem: the first, built by King Solomon three thousand years ago and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The second, ravaged by the Romans in 70 AD. The first temple is found in the Psalter, one of the books of the Bible. The destruction of the temples is dedicated to an annual memorial day. Verses about them are reproduced at everyday events such as meals and special events such as weddings. The phrase “Next year in Jerusalem” has a special place in celebrating certain weekends and is used as a greeting among Jews.
Christianity emerged as a Jewish sect. Most of the gospel stories about Jesus – perceived as the Messiah, a God-promised savior – take place in the Galilee or other areas north of Jerusalem where he is believed to have performed miracles. But it was in Jerusalem that he was crucified and resurrected. Resurrection, the belief in life after death, is a central part of the Christian faith. Christianity gained momentum in Jerusalem, including the construction of churches, when the Roman Empire had a Christian emperor around 300 AD.
In Jerusalem, too, Islam has perceived a transition between the earthly and the heavenly. Religious founder Muhammad regarded himself as one in the line of prophets and Jerusalem as the city of prophets. The first place Muslims turned to in prayer was Jerusalem. As early as 638, a few years after the death of the Prophet, the city was conquered by Muslims and the construction of mosques began. According to tradition, Muhammad made an ascension from Jerusalem.
It is the origin of today’s situation, where places sacred to three religions are in the same place or immediately next to each other. Jews search for the Temple Mount, where the ancient temples rose. Muslims visit mosques built on top of the mountain and Christians gather in places related to Jesus’ suffering.
The ancient Jewish temples are thus ruined. The churches have been replaced by newer ones. But the mosques al-Aqsa and Klippdomen, which is recognized by its golden dome, remain. The buildings are older than the shrines found in even more sacred places, in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
It gives a picture of why the issue of Jerusalem is sensitive to all Muslims, not just to the Palestinian Muslims who live closest. Muslims also perceive a threat to the shrines. Attacks on the buildings have occurred. The most serious was a 1969 arson, which prompted countries throughout the Muslim world to form the Islamic Conference (OIC).
With the exception of shorter periods, there has always been a Jewish population in Jerusalem, even when first Christians and later Muslims came to constitute the majority. But almost all the superpowers had, until the 19th century, an attitude that was governed by the importance of the city to so many groups. What changed the thinking was nationalism, the idea that every nation should form its own state. It gave birth to competing political projects: Zionism, whose goal is to give the Jews a safe homeland, and Pan-Arabism, which would liberate the Arab world from colonial rulers and contained the seed of the Palestinians’ longing for their own state. Historian Vincent Lemire has put it this way: “From being the jewel of an emperor’s crown, in a multinational kingdom, the city becomes the subject of exclusive rights.”
Both the political superpowers in the late 1800s and early 1900s – the Ottoman Empire and the United Kingdom – make decisions that contribute to development. First, Jerusalem becomes a regional center during the Ottomans in 1872. Then the British, who occupy the city in 1917, make Jerusalem the capital of the mandate area that Britain governs until 1948.
In 1947, when the British want the UN to take over the responsibility, the UN member states adopt a resolution, number 181, which states that the city should be managed internationally. But it has never worked in practice. The UN wanted to divide the country into other parts, which gave the Jews the opportunity to found the state of Israel in 1948. But the Arab countries did not accept the division and went to war. When the war ended, Israel had, for example, occupied the western half of Jerusalem, while the eastern was given Jordanian rule. The holy places of Jerusalem’s old city ended up on the Jordanian side.
In 1967, during the June war, Israel also occupied the eastern half. Today, Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its capital and has no plans to leave the area, which has been a Palestinian requirement in the peace talks held. Israeli law has been introduced and the city boundary has been expanded.
For believing Jews, Israel’s victory meant that they could go to the Temple Mount to pray again. But Israel has also taken some account of the fact that the place is sensitive. Since 1967, the principle of “visit but not pray” is applied to Jews’ access to the Temple Square. Jews pray at the Western Wall next door, also called the Wailing Wall, which is perceived as the remnant of the ancient Jewish temples.
Very soon after the conquest, Israel demolished some Muslim neighborhoods and created space for nationalist manifestations, such as national day celebrations, in close proximity to the wall. Over the years, Israel has carried out extensive building projects to promote occupancy. About 200,000 Jews have moved in. For the 300,000 Palestinian residents of the city, this has entailed many expressions, such as restrictions on residence permits, building permits and municipal services. Palestinians in Jerusalem have the right to vote, but only in municipal elections. Mostly they boycotted the elections.
The King of Jordan has a role as supreme protector of the holy Muslim sites. It is part of the Israel-Jordan peace agreement in 1994. The mosques are managed by a foundation, waqf , and the Friday prayer lunch gathers thousands of Muslims. In times of turmoil, Israel prohibits young Muslim men from participating in prayer.
In the old city center, Jews, Armenian Christians, Arab Christians and Arab Muslims live in their own neighborhoods. Since 1967, a number of Arab houses have been sold to Jewish buyers, which has led to mutual discontent between Palestinians.
Israel’s supremacy over the eastern half is considered internationally an occupation, and Israel has been criticized for failing to comply with the rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It says both that an occupying power must not move into its own population and that the force of authority must provide for the needs of the civilian population in the occupied area.
On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump decided that the United States would recognize Israel’s power over Jerusalem and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. It was a decision that US presidents had failed to implement before Trump and that has led to sharp criticism of both Israel and the United States (see Foreign Policy). Trump has subsequently also presented a peace plan that would mean that East Jerusalem, including the holy sites for Muslims, will permanently accrue to Israel.
Israeli settlements on occupied land have been constructed for several purposes since Israel entered the territories in 1967. One of the consequences is that communities with Jewish population constitute “facts on the ground”, which make it difficult to reach peace agreements with Palestinians and with Syria.
In the June 1967 war, Israel was confronted by the surrounding Arab neighbors and had success. Israel entered East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt as well as the Golan Heights from Syria.
In all five occupied territories, Israel began building housing for Israelis after a few years. The international criticism was fierce. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the international treaties called the laws of war, it is forbidden for an occupying power to move its own population. Israel is one of the states that has approved the convention.
Israel later evacuated two of the five areas occupied: Sinai in 1982 and the Gaza Strip in 2005 (see Modern History). The settlers have been forced to relocate.
On the other hand, two occupied territories – East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – have made Israel harder; Israeli law has been introduced there despite very sharp international criticism. Syria is demanding that the Golan and its settlements be returned, which is an obstacle to a peace agreement. But it is mainly in East Jerusalem that Israelis move in through extensive government-supported construction activities.
In the fifth area, the West Bank, Israeli settlements also continue to grow, but there Israel’s claims are more unclear. The expansion makes life difficult for the Palestinian population in many ways – mainly through the road network connecting the settlements with Israel. The roads are forbidden to Palestinians and in many cases are obstacles to reaching their crops. At the same time, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip are the areas the Palestinians claim to be able to form their own state. It has been expected, especially in the context of the peace process in the 1990s, that the parties would resolve the issue through agreements, but Israel has been dominated in recent years by forces that are unwilling to leave land.
The Yesha Council of Settlers reported in 2018 that the Jewish population of the West Bank, East Jerusalem counted just over 435,000, following an increase of 3.4 percent in 2017. In addition, about 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem and 20,000 in the Golan, according to peace organizations in Israel, which is critical to settlement policy. The criticism of the outside world has also been stubborn over the years, not least in UN Resolution 242 which requires the parties in the 1967 war to withdraw from occupied land.
The largest settlements are Modiin Ilit (70,000 residents) west of Ramallah, Beitar Ilit (56,000 residents) southwest of Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim (41,000 residents) east of Jerusalem.
The Israeli army protects the settlers against Palestinian attacks.
The most common argument for Israeli settlement is that East Jerusalem and the West Bank are historical, Jewish land (see Older History). Early in 1967, religious circles with nationalist goals pushed for Israel to start using the land, and ultra-Orthodox Jews today make up about one-third of the residents of the settlements – a significantly larger proportion than they are of the Israeli population as a whole. But security issues and housing policy have also come into play. In 1973, six years after the June war, the Arab countries tried to take back the occupied land through war. They failed, but in Israel, votes were raised for retaining the areas in order to have a better opportunity to protect themselves against Arab attacks.
Demands on the ground have also increased with growing housing shortages in Israel. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, an immigration wave from former Soviet states increased to Israel. One million people with Jewish background moved in, to a small country where it was difficult to find housing. In Russian-language press, there were advertisements promoting modern housing at subsidized prices – outside of Israel: in settlements in occupied territory.
Gradually, Israeli law has been amended to include settlers, including pensions, health insurance and voting rights, in the same way as if they had lived on land that is not in dispute. Several parties are driving the settlers’ interests.
Israel has not disclosed how much housing policy has cost over the years, but Roby Nathanson, head of the Macroeconomic Center for Political Economy, which is an Israeli individual organization, estimated the state’s costs since 1967 to be equivalent to nearly SEK 200 billion. The area of settlements on the West Bank has doubled over the past 18 years, the organization stated. The expansion is encouraged by the average settler getting three times as much in government subsidies as the residents within the 1967 borders.
Both the costs and especially the deaths required when Palestinians resort to violence against settlers contributed to the Oslo process in the 1990s. The process was brought about by peace of mind on both sides. In connection with the peace negotiations, it has circulated proposals that Israel should empty most of the settlements on the West Bank, which are quite small. The largest, on the other hand, would remain and join Israel. In exchange, the Palestinians would receive other land from the Israeli side.
No government in Israel, nor the Labor Party government that was involved in the Oslo process, has completely tied the rollout. Since the right-wing Likud election victory in the mid-1990s, conservative parties have dominated Israeli politics and, on the contrary, the expansion has been encouraged with only shorter stays. The exception is the Gaza Strip, which Israel vacated in 2005, when Likud leader Ariel Sharon, as Prime Minister, had surprisingly concluded that it countered Israel’s interests in having settlers there.
In the case of East Jerusalem, there is mainly consensus in Israel. Parties across the political spectrum want to keep the entire city under Israeli control.
The claims on the West Bank are most strongly driven by national religious parties, and they have strengthened their position. The settler movement has been represented in the government since 2015. Settler party leaders express far-reaching demands. For example, Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister 2020, has proposed that more than 60 percent of the West Bank (Area C under the 1990s peace agreement), which is completely under Israeli control and where most settlements are located, be annexed. The Israeli state has used to make a difference of just over 130 “legal” settlements and over 100 “outposts”, but conservative politicians and settlers have in recent years pressed to get the outposts allowed by law. One of the questions is how Palestinian landowners – who are not given the opportunity to say no – should be compensated for the land they have to give up.
Meanwhile, settlers and Palestinians continue to make life miserable with each other with assassinations, knife attacks and gunfire. One of the most troubled places is the center of Hebron, where a small group of settlers live in the midst of Palestinian city dwellers.
In other settlements there is a more complex picture. There are Palestinians who work in companies in settlements and many have made their living on construction work there. Most settlements are densely built residential communities, built for heights for safety reasons.
Internationally, including in the EU, many countries advocate that goods manufactured in the settlements should be boycotted or in any case not be granted as favorable trade terms as other Israeli products. US’s changed Middle East policy under President Donald Trump has resulted in increased American understanding of the settler movement’s land claims. A little in the shadow of the controversial US decision in 2017 to approve Israel’s claim to East Jerusalem, Trump appointed a US ambassador who was personally active in a settler organization. Veterans in the US diplomatic force objected in writing to the nomination, which they felt did not serve the US interest or prospects for peace.