Portrait of Dvir Kahana, front, who has worked to develop Jewish eastern portions of Jerusalem. (Flash90) Flash90

New data shows Israeli construction in eastern portions of Jerusalem has surged since Trump took office.

By United with Israel Staff and AP

New official data obtained by The Associated Press shows a spike in Jewish construction in Jerusalem’s eastern neighborhoods since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

The expansion of Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem reflects the city’s status as the capital of Israel, which the Trump administration officially recognized in 2017.

Following that declaration, the U.S. moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018, with several other nations opening official trade offices in Jerusalem following the move.

While the Palestinians continue to demand Jerusalem as the capital of their non-existent state, the city has remained the capital of the Jewish people since Biblical times.

According to the statistics acquired by the AP, in the first two years of Trump’s presidency, Israeli authorities approved 1,861 housing units in eastern portions of Jerusalem, a 60% increase from the 1,162 approved in the previous two years.

The figures show that 1,081 permits for Jewish housing were issued in 2017 alone, the highest annual number since 2000.

The figures are for construction permits issued by the Jerusalem municipality, the final step of a lengthy process that can take years to complete. The figures show that since 1991, the municipality has issued 21,834 permits for housing units in Jewish settlements in eastern portions of Jerusalem.

Today, around 215,000 Jews live in Jerusalem’s eastern neighborhoods.

While the Israeli government has actively promoted construction in these areas since 1967, when Israel won control of the area by defeating Jordan and four other Arab nations in the Six-Day War, settlement approvals have accelerated in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria since Trump took office.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley if his party wins next week’s elections.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians cut off all ties with the Trump administration after the Jerusalem decision and have already slammed a peace plan the president has promised to release, moves that are consistent with more than seven decades of Palestinian rejectionism and intransigence.

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