Skip to main content

Israeli Settlement Expansion Casts Cloud Over Obama Visit

Israel's green light to proceed with building new settlements ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit dampens expectations for change, writes Dalia Hatuqa.
An Israeli police officer stands in front of Palestinian and foreign protesters gesturing from inside a vehicle after they were detained in an area known as "E1", which connects the two parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank outside Arab suburbs of East Jerusalem January 15, 2013. Israeli police, using stun grenades, blocked about 50 Palestinian activists who tried on Tuesday to reoccupy tents they pitched last week on a patch of West Bank land which Israel wants for Jewish settlements. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

On March 20, Barack Obama will make his first visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as president of the United States. He has been in this part of the world before, but in the capacity of a junior senator from Illinois. Just days after this major announcement from the White House, Israel divulged that it is approving hundreds of new settlement units in the West Bank, signaling once more its intent to change the geographical status quo (and thus the political landscape), which would affect the outcome of any future status agreement with the Palestinians.

Israel’s Defense Ministry rubber-stamped construction plans for 346 units in the settlements of Tekoa and Nokdim south of the West Bank. Additionally, 90 new units were slated to be built in the settlement of Beit El, just outside of Ramallah.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.