Despite Israeli officials presumably wanting to put a “pro-peace” face on their incoming government with President Obama’s planned visit next month, they have announced another new settlement expansion inside Beit El, in the occupied West Bank.
The settlement, in the central West Bank near Ramallah, houses over 5,000 residents, and the new approval is for another 90 apartments in the area, with some to be given to settlers ousted from a different neighborhood after their homes were found to have been built on privately-owned Palestinian land.
Though smaller than several other announced expansions in the past couple of months, the fact that they continue to announce expansions at all this close to the Obama visit is sure to create controversy, and will make President Obama’s intention to avoid the Palestinian issue all the more conspicuous, and difficult to maintain.
It will also add controversy to the efforts to create a coalition government in Israel, with Yesh Atid and the Tzipi Livni Party both pushing for a peace settlement while the far-right continues to push against it, arguing in favor of unrestrained expansions into the West Bank.
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