The dispute over settlements is likely to set the tone for future U.S.-Israeli relations.
Tensions have been mounting between the U.S. and its usual BFF, Israel. President Obama’s demand for an end to the construction of settlements in the West Bank was rejected by Israel earlier this week. Obama has responded by suggesting that Israel’s intransigence endangers U.S. security.
Increasingly fractious relations between the US and Israel hit a low unseen in nearly two decades yesterday after the Jewish state rejected President Obama’s demand for an end to settlement construction in the West Bank, and the president responded by suggesting that Israeli intransigence endangers America’s security.
The dispute, which blew in during the open hours before Obama met the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, reflects the depth of the shift in US policy away from accommodating Israel, and towards pressuring it to end years of stalling negotiations over the creation of a Palestinian state as it continues to grab land in the occupied territories.
Obama put down a marker at a difficult meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in Washington last week when he demanded a halt to the expansion of settlements, which now house close to 500,000 in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, as they are a major obstacle to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.