Obama, criticizing Jewish settlements in Middle East, pushes Muslim settlements in US

President Obama criticized Israel for constructing new settlements in what Israel calls Judea and Samaria and what the Palestinians call the West Bank. In an uncommonly harsh statement, the State Department "strongly condemned" the move, asserting that it violated Israel's pledge not to construct new settlements and ran counter to the long-term security interests Israel was seeking to protect. ... The new settlement, one of a string of housing complexes that threaten to bisect the West Bank, is designed to house settlers from a nearby illegal outpost, Amona, which an Israeli court has ordered demolished. Settlements have poisoned the relationship between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu from the earliest days of the administration. Mr. Obama demanded that Israel halt construction as a gesture to draw the Palestinians back to the bargaining table. Mr. Netanyahu complained that the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, frittered away most of the...(Read Full Post)

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