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Is a new West Bank settlement Obama's red line?

If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on defying the US president and building a new West Bank settlement, Barack Obama could respond by abstaining in a UN Security Council vote on Palestinian Statehood.
A picture taken from the West Bank Christian village of Taybeh on September 11, 2016, shows the wildcat Jewish settlement of Amona.
An Israeli court has ruled that the wildcat Jewish settlement of Amona, where live around 40 families in mainly caravan homes, is on Palestinian property and must be evacuated by December 25. Settlements such as Amona are called outposts -- those that Israel has not approved. Outpost residents hope such authorisation will one day be provided, as has occurred in other cases. Amo
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If it were up to Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister would have asked the settlers to rein in their passion for real estate at least until Barack Obama vacates his seat for the next US president. Netanyahu can already take comfort in the fact that despite the protests of the outgoing Obama administration, since it took office in 2009 the number of Jewish West Bank settlers has grown from some 300,000 to about 400,000. Nothing troubles the prime minister more these days than the possibility that Obama will take advantage of the transition period between Nov. 9 and Jan. 20 to leave him a poisoned farewell gift. And nothing makes the Obama administration angrier than the construction of a new settlement.

Unfortunately for Netanyahu, the American calendar is not in sync with the Israeli one. Dec. 25 marks the expiration of the two-year delay granted to carry out the court-ordered demolition of the West Bank outpost of Amona. The chief justice at the time, Asher Grunis, wrote in his ruling that the difficulties of the settlers notwithstanding, illegal construction on private Palestinian land cannot be allowed and does not justify non-enforcement of the law. The judge stressed that not vacating Amona constitutes a violation of the state’s reiterated commitment to carry out the demolition orders, in addition to being a serious violation of the Palestinian inhabitants’ rights. A report by the state comptroller several months prior to the ruling described Israel’s planning in the West Bank as “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

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