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New Israeli Government Will Support Settlements

Geoffrey Aronson writes that settlement expansion will be a priority under the new Israeli government.
Houses are seen in a general view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Efrat, near Bethlehem March 17, 2013.  U.S. President Barack Obama is due to make his first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories this week, looking to improve ties after sometimes rocky relations with both sides during his first term in office. Israeli settlement expansion lies at the heart of much of the rancour between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama, who has said the United States does not acce

The only time the word “peace” is mentioned in the coalition government of the newly installed Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the section promising a member of Yesh Atid a place in on the negotiations committee to be headed by Tzippi Livni. Livni, of course, will not be making policy. Netanyahu's alter ego, Yitzhak Molcho, promises to be in the room at all times. And the rejectionist tone of the government will be set by a diplomatic mini-cabinet including Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon and Minister of Economy and Trade Naftali Bennet, a former director of the Council of settlements in Judea and Samaria (Yesha).

This aspect of the new government's priorities is not surprising. It promises to be the most unambiguously partisan in favor of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories of any of its predecessors. Acting so will be no mean achievement, given the record of success established by previous Israeli governments during the last four-plus decades, particularly those led by Labor Party leaders — from Golda Meir to Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak.

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