Several top Israeli cabinet members reiterated today that the government rejects the Obama Administration’s calls to halt all settlement growth in the West Bank. Some of the officials also complained that “understandings” reached with the Bush Administration didn’t seem to carry weight with the new government.
One of the officials in particular, described as a senior official but unwilling to give his name, groused about that Obama Administration, adding “the Americans have demanded almost nothing from the Palestinians but are asking Israel to take steps that are a real sacrifice.”
During Netanyahu’s visit earlier this month, President Obama reportedly made it “very clear” that the US would accept no exceptions to the Israeli settlement freeze. The president’s plan for an “independent, democratic and contiguous Palestinian state” involves pressing for territory swaps between the settlements and the Palestinian state, which would be more difficult if the settlements continue to expand.
The right-wing Netanyahu government has attempted to offer “compromises” which would demand the US stop complaining about the settlement growth. Halting settlement growth would be a tough, if not impossible, sell for the Likud leader’s supporters.