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Ariel, Palestinian Territories – In the Jewish settlement of Ariel, Perri Ben Senior is anxious for Israel to annex this part of the occupied West Bank, hoping it will be a boon to his real estate company.

With its 20,500 residents, a university and shopping centers, Ariel was tipped to be one of the settlements likely to be included in a first wave of Israeli annexations enjoying the support of US President Donald Trump.

A controversial peace plan unveiled by Trump in January pledged U.S. support for Israel to annex parts 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 move forward with the implementation of Trump’s plan.

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

Elsewhere in the West Bank, other agents have seen their sales increase since annexation started making headlines after the launch of the US plan.

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

“We have completed six transactions in the past 10 days at Alfei Menashe,” another nearby settlement.

“The houses have been on the market for many months, so I asked families why do you want to buy now,” he said.

“They fear that prices will skyrocket because of the government’s decision” to annex the territory, he said.

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

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

While the details of the plan remain obscure, many assume that the annexed lands will not be part of the future Palestinian state, which is also part of Trump’s plan.

Currently, “people are afraid to buy in the territories because they say to themselves: ‘What if tomorrow we return the territories? Who will reimburse me? What about the house I bought? said Ben Senior.

Since the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, which were to lead to the formation of a Palestinian state, the population of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has more than tripled to 450,000.

In addition to those who move to the West Bank for religious or ideological reasons, many Israelis have been drawn to the settlements by their housing costs, which are significantly lower than Israel’s expensive real estate market.

A view shows the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank. (Reuters)

Just 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) west of Alfei Menashe, across the “green line” between Israel and the West Bank, lies Kfar Saba.

There, a seven-room apartment on 200 square meters of land would cost around 4.5 million shekels ($ 1.3 million, € 1.1 million), Wach said.

A property similar to Alfei Menashe would cost around half that, he said.

“Immediately after annexation, prices will increase by about 10-15%, and in about five, six, seven years, they will increase by about 30%, no less.”

Zeev Epstein, who had a record number of sales last month, shares Wach’s optimism.

“Annexation will make a big difference,” said Epstein, whose real estate company Harei Zahav (Hebrew for mountains of gold) deals exclusively with Israeli settlements, “he said.

“It will be a big market, we will have to prepare, work hard for this opportunity.”

While Netanyahu has yet to take concrete annexation steps, despite being scheduled to do so from July 1 as part of the US plan, Wach can already feel some momentum.

“When Israel decides this place is ours, the common reaction is – ah, finally! he said.

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