Jan 20, 2021

When Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20, he will have on his desk several “presents” from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has approved the construction of 850 units for construction in Samaria. 

850 Units in Samaria: “Revenge” for the Murder of Jews

500 of the units are slated for construction in Itamar, Shavei Shomron, Givat Zeev, and Oranit in Samaria, and Beit El in the Benyamin region.  An additional 250 units will be approved in Nofei Nehemiah.

An additional 100 units were approved for construction in Tal Menashe where Esther Horgan, who was murdered last month, lived. 

Itamar is a predominantly Orthodox city that currently has a population of 1,269. The city has been targeted by terrorists, most notably in 2011 when five members of the Fogel family, including a three-month-old infant, were stabbed to death while they slept by two residents of the nearby village of Awarta. In the wake of the attack, 400 housing units were approved for construction in Itamar. 

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, March 2016. Credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Wikimedia Commons.

Biden Has Heard this Message Before

This will not be the first time that Netanyahu sent this message to Biden. While Biden was visiting Israel in March 2010, 1,600 units were approved for construction in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of Jerusalem. The move by Netanyahu was considered an embarrassment for Biden who publicly condemned it and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it an “insult.”

One week after the elections in November, a reminder was sent to Biden as 108 units were approved for construction in Ramat Shlomo. An additional 1,257 units were approved at that time for construction in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat HaMatos.