Israel last week authorized new settlement construction in the controversial area of East Jerusalem known as E1 in a punitive attempt to nullify a contiguous Palestinian state following the successful UN-bid for implicit recognition of Palestinian statehood.
The project Netanyahu’s government began moving forward on Friday would cut the West Bank itself in half, dividing its north from its south while barricading off a bit of Jerusalem in the bargain, and with it, in all likelihood, the plans to name the Arab sections of the city as Palestine’s capital,” writes Karl Vick, columnist for Time.
The settlement plan exposes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to prevent the viability of a Palestinian state at all costs.
Not only is it clear Israel is using Palestine’s successful UN bid to punish them, but Israeli officials were quoted as saying that the decision to build settlements in E1 was also intended as retaliation against the Obama administration for not already giving the green light for such plans.
President George Bush gave the green light in a 2004 letter to the Israeli leadership that said, “we no longer feel that we are bound by any commitment on E-1.”
“What that suggests to Washington is that Jerusalem was waiting for an opportunity to do this, that it was designed to provoke anger in the Administration, and that they picked what they thought was a convenient moment,” Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer told Haaretz. “It was a low blow.”
While the White House has denounced the plans as counterproductive, they have done nothing of substance in response and continue to support Israel economically, militarily, and diplomatically.
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