TheJerusalem Post published a surprising report in June: According to data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of construction starts for housing in the settlements has been in a “downward spiral” ever since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and hit a six-year low in the first quarter of 2018.
Granted, Israel’s government regularly approves plans for thousands of new settlement homes. But it rarely authorizes their actual construction. Moreover, even these “new approvals” are often just recycled plans that were previously approved but never built.
That settlement construction has plummeted under Trump may seem counterintuitive, given that Israel’s government is still comprised mainly of pro-settlement parties and Trump’s friendly administration has consistently refused to criticize settlement activity. Indeed, Hagit Ofran of the left-wing group Peace Now told the Post she couldn’t explain the drop.
But Ofran’s bewilderment merely proves, for the umpteenth time, that Israel’s far left doesn’t understand how the rest of the country thinks. In fact, as perceptive centrist Yossi Klein Halevi noted in a 2013 interview with TheTimes of Israel, most Israelis’ willingness to please the “international community” has always been directly proportional to how supportive they feel that community is of Israel.