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Netanyahu trapped between right-wing settlement law, US president

Confronted with a yet-unknown position by US President Donald Trump and continuous pressure from his coalition partners, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps changing his mind about the settlement Regularization law.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Balilty/Pool - RTX2ZOA1
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In less than seven days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to change his mind regarding the Regularization law at least five times. And if we take a wider perspective of Netanyahu’s stance toward the bill that is supposed to regularize all the illegal housing units in West Bank settlements, the prime minister has zigzagged and flip-flopped many more times than that.

Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked (HaBayit HaYehudi) initiated the bill in an effort to compensate the residents of the Amona outpost who were evacuated Feb. 2, the residents of nine illegal houses in the Ofra settlement and the other tens of thousands who live in housing units on controversial land. Netanyahu is trying to keep up with his coalition rivals from HaBayit HaYehudi, mainly due to lack of choice: He needs to safeguard his chances for siphoning off some of their voters in the next elections. The new US administration was drawn into this chaos — an administration that is still a puzzle to the higher-ups in Jerusalem.

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