Israeli Minister Shaked: Progress on 'Trump Heights' Settlement in Golan

The construction comes as part of a broader plan by Bennett to double the population of the Golan Heights by the end of the decade

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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A construction vehicle outside the settlement of Trump Heights, in March.
A construction vehicle outside the settlement of Trump Heights, in March.Credit: Jonathan Shamir
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Tuesday significant steps in the construction of Ramat Trump ("Trump Heights"), a settlement to be founded in the Golan Heights in honor of the former U.S. president.

Shaked approved the boundaries of the settlement and decided its format as a small rural community, following the recommendation of Interior Minister Director General Yair Hirsch and a local committee that decides community borders in the region. According to the decision, Ramat Trump will cover approximately 276 dunams (a little less than 70 acres).

The development means that homes, public buildings, an industrial zone and roads can now be built. “We will continue to work toward the development of the Golan Heights both by establishing communities and doubling the population, taking advantage of the regional growth potential,” Hirsch said on Tuesday.

Last week Haaretz reported that the Prime Minister’s Office had begun setting up a planning committee with broad powers and no public representatives to expedite development and construction in the Golan Heights. The plan also includes two new settlements: Asif and Matar.

Nature protection organizations say these steps bypass rules governing the establishment of new communities and needlessly damages open spaces.

According to the proposed plan, the population of the Golan Heights (including the city of Katzrin and the Druze towns), which now stands at 52,000, is set to grow 50 percent by 2025, doubling itself by the end of the decade.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the intention of the transition government he headed to establish Ramat Trump during a special government session held on the Golan Heights in June 2019.

According to Netanyahu, establishing the community constitutes a gesture of respect for Trump’s actions “for the good of the State of Israel in a wide variety of areas.”

The settlement is named after Trump to signify appreciation for his recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, which the international community recognizes as belonging to Syria.

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