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Israeli Parties' Merger Thwarts US Push to Halt Settlements

The merger of two right-wing Israeli political parties under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means a commitment to expanding settlement in Palestinian land, Geoffrey Aronson writes, and marks the failure of President Barack Obama's administration to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman attend a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem August 3, 2011. Israel's parliament passed a law on Wednesday aimed at cutting housing prices, but protesters seeking wider economic reforms pledged to step up their campaign against rising living costs. Netanyahu has been under pressure in the past few weeks to lower living costs in what local media have dubbed an uprising of the middle class. REUTERS/B

Yesterday [Oct. 25], Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the merger of his ruling Likud Party with its coalition partner "Israel is Our House” (Israel Beitanu), headed by foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. The deal gives Netanayhu a lock on the premiership in the election scheduled for early 2013, and cements in place an Israeli government committed to settlement expansion and the enfeeblement of the tottering Palestinian Authority headed by the long-suffering Mahmoud Abbas.  

This is the distressing, unanticipated legacy of the administration of President Barack Obama and its failed effort to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. 

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