Thousands of Israeli settlers and their supporters took to the streets of Jerusalem today, condemning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement freeze as a betrayal and demanding the resumption fo settlement construction.
Protesters held up signs declaring that God had given the West Bank to them, as well as signs condemning Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. One of the MPs speaking at the rally gave out the White House’s phone number, advising protesters to call and demand that President Obama “leave Israel alone.” Confusingly some of the protesters reported sported anti-Iran signs and signs demanding the US move against Iran.
Despite the fact that Israel’s government has largely ignored its own freeze, okaying more of the very sort of buildings it was supposed to block the demonstrators appeared furious, and many of them seemed convinced that the 10 month freeze, which doesn’t seem like it will stop a single building from being constructed, is an existential threat to Israel itself.
Even the consummate politician, however, Prime Minister Netanyahu seems well aware that many of the MPs condemning him are members of his coalition government, and the rightist rally is largely his own constituency, or that of key partners. In response he has announced an increase in funds for some of the most remote settlement outposts, the kind which would presumably have to be abandoned in the event Israel ever recognized Palestinian statehood in even a fraction of the West Bank.
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