Last night President Obama admitted that it wasn't going to be easy to work with the new Israeli government. Today they showed why.
Ha'aretz is reporting the Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman have cut a "secret deal" to build 3,000 new illegal housing units between Jerusalem and the illegal Israeli settlement Ma'ale Adumim. These units will be in E-1, a highly contested stretch of land that Israel wants to colonize in order to control the strategic corridor connecting Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley. The map to the right (click to enlarge) from the Israeli organization Ir Amim shows the area. Israeli control of E-1 would cut the West Bank in half and make a viable Palestinian state impossible. Ha'aretz notes that "For this reason, the United States has strongly
opposed this sort of Israeli construction for more than a decade.
Israeli governments have avoided construction in this area, mostly
because of U.S. pressure." Clearly the incoming Israeli government isn't afraid of US pressure or they feel the endgame is at hand.
Paul Woodward over at War In Context connected this story to the Obama press conference and noted:
If Obama really believes that the status quo is untenable then it’s up to him to demonstrate that he means what he says.
Netanyahu is clearly ready to get straight back to business as usual: talking peace, building settlements.
Obama administration, your move.