“Our goal today is to double the population in the Golan Heights,” Naftali Bennett said before the plan was not approved by ministers.
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For the occasion, the Israeli government has exceptionally met in the occupied Golan Heights. From this region located near the borders of Syria and Lebanon, the executive voted, Sunday, December 26, a plan to double the number of settlers in this strategic area taken from Syria in 1967 and annexed 40 years ago. According to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who chaired the ministerial meeting held in Kibbutz Mevo Hama, the cost will amount to one billion shekels (around 280 million euros).
“Our goal today is to double the population in the Golan Heights”, said Naftali Bennett before the plan was approved by ministers, saying it aims to expand infrastructure in the northern part of the country, as well as create housing and jobs.
Around 25,000 Israeli settlers now live in the Golan Heights alongside some 23,000 Druze who claim to be mostly Syrians while having the status of residents in Israel.
In March 2019, former US President Donald Trump signed the decree officially recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a decision at odds with the US position for decades. Syria had denounced a “flagrant violation” to its sovereignty. Three months later, a new colony was inaugurated on the annexed part of the Golan Heights, called “Ramat Trump”, the “colline Trump” in Hebrew, in honor of the former US president.
“It goes without saying that the Golan Heights are Israeli”, Naftali Bennett said again on Sunday.