When the latest round of peace talks began, Israel made several deals with the US promising not to do certain things related to the settlements that would threaten the process. Those promises have become a laundry list of things Israel’s coalition seems determined to do to placate its far-right membership.
The latest promise reneged on is not to “encourage” more people to move into the settlements in the occupied West Bank, as the Israeli government has released a new expanded “priority list” promising massive subsidies for people who move to several isolated settlements.
While expansions in the major settlement blocs have been a source of some tension during the talks, expanding the isolated settlements is far more controversial since it has expanded the amount of territory Israel feels entitled to retain in any peace deal, meaning the Palestinians are negotiating for an ever-shrinking fraction of their land.
The new priority list was drawn up by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, ironically one of the supporters of the peace process. His ministry insists they drew up the criteria for inclusion on the list without realizing how many settlements would be added.