Words are just words, but deeds are something else again. The Israeli government today announced the building of 300 new houses in a settlement a long way from the Green Line and outside the Wall, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

If there were any doubt about it, Netanyahu just slapped Obama in the face, hard.

Barak authorizes construction of 300 new homes in West Bank

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has authorized the building of 300 new homes in the West Bank, defying U.S. calls for a halt to settlement growth.

According to Army Radio said 60 of the 300 homes slated for the Talmon settlement in the West Bank have already been built and that Barak had approved plans to construct another 240 units there.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pressed Israel to halt settlement activity as part of a bid to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Half a million Jews live in settlement blocs and smaller outposts built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, all territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

The last line of this article is a virtual non sequitor: “Israel says the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to stop militant violence.” Is that Israel’s latest excuse for its now defiant colonialism of Palestinian lands?

In another Haaretz article we read: Arab world sees settlement row as test of Obama’s credibility, and indeed, the ball is now in Obama’s court to save his new Middle East policy. This is not only a test of Obama’s credibility as president of the world’s only superpower, it is a test of whether a tiny right leaning country such as Israel can control American foreign policy.

If Obama does not act and acquiesces to the wants of this right wing Israeli government, his transformed anti-Neocon Middle East policy is dead. We wait.


This section from Huffington Post coverage of the settlement expansion threw more light on it. It is actually the expansion of an illegal outpost.

The AP reports that the plans were approved by Barak and filed with authorities in April.

The outpost, known as Water Reservoir Hill, is just several hundred meters (yards) from an established Israeli settlement, Talmon, not far from Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government.

It is one of more than 100 wildcat settlements that have been erected without official government approval but typically with the cooperation of government agencies.

“This is important because it shows that Israel is not only not evacuating outposts, but is turning them into what it considers legal settlements and expanding areas of control in ways that harm Palestinians,” said Alon Cohen-Lifshitz, an architect at Bimkom.

Bimkom has filed an objection with planning authorities, along with residents of the nearby Palestinian village of al-Jania.

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