Citing Israeli analysts, the Friday report accused Netanyahu of trying to “cement support among those Israeli Jews who have considered forgoing voting for his right wing Likud movement and instead choosing more radical, pro-settler parties”.
On November 30, Israel approved a plan to build 3,000 more units in East al-Quds(Jerusalem) and the West Bank, including in the controversial E1 area, in response to the UN recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state the previous day.
The report highlighted that the move announced by the Israeli prime minister was also aimed at testing Tel Aviv’s Western allies to assess how much support Israel could lose if it goes ahead with Jewish settlements.
The premier “is probably preserving for himself the option of retreating when he sees that international allies are starting to be serious” in their condemnation of the settlement plans and possible sanctions against Israel, the report quoted an Israeli analyst as saying.
Many countries have censured the Tel Aviv’s regime over the settlement expansion plan. At least eight countries have summoned Israeli ambassadors in the past week to protest the plan, including close allies such as Germany, Italy and Britain.
The report added that Netanyahu’s decision last month to launch an eight-day military operation in the Gaza Strip was also “at least partly attributed by commentators to his ambition to gain support from the right”, as he is uncertain of his political standing among right-wingers.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds(Jerusalem).
The settlements are considered illegal by the UN and much of the international community.