In Israeli settlements, money is on annexation real estate boom

In the Jewish settlement of Ariel, Perri Ben Senior can’t wait for Israel to annex this part of the occupied West Bank, hoping it will be a boon for her real estate firm.

With its 20,500 residents, a university and shopping centres, Ariel has been tipped as one of the settlements likely to be included in a first wave of Israeli annexations taking advantage of support from US President Donald Trump.

A controversial peace plan unveiled by Trump in January promised US backing for Israel to annex swathes of the West Bank, including Jewish settlements considered illegal under international law.

Speaking at her real estate agency, Ben Senior said she hoped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would forge ahead with implementing Trump’s plan.

“It will raise the price of apartments and land because there will be more demand,” she anticipated.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, other agents have seen a leap in sales since annexation began dominating headlines after the launch of the US plan.

Daniel Wach, whose real estate business is in the Eli settlement a short distance from Ariel, told AFP he has done “as much business in the past two months as the last few years”.

“We closed six deals in the past 10 days in Alfei Menashe,” another nearby settlement.

“The houses have been on the market for many months, so I asked the families why do you want to buy now,” he said. “They fear the prices are going to get higher because of the decision of the government” to annex the territory, he said.

‘A normal place’

If Israel does annex any parts of the West Bank, those areas will become subject to Israeli civilian law, rather than the military law currently in place.

“It’s another reason to come to Judea and Samaria because now they are considered as normal citizens of Israel, it’s a normal place now,” Wach said, using the Israeli term for the West Bank.

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