In West Bank, Showdown Between Israeli Settlers and Netanyahu Looms Over Illegal Outpost [Los Angeles Times]
The settlers present a dilemma for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which gets much of its political strength from their support but is now faced with the prospect of having to forcibly expel them. Desperate to avoid a repeat of the 2006 demolition of nine houses in the West Bank settlement of Amona, Netanyahu's government is searching for a legal fix that would allow them to stay.
Israel Okays 98 New West Bank Settlement Homes for Amona Evacuees [Times of Israel]
Israel has approved the construction of nearly 100 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Shiloh to compensate homeowners of the nearby outpost of Amona ahead of its court-ordered evacuation and demolition, the watchdog Peace Now said Saturday. Government sources confirmed the plan.
United States Criticizes Israel Over West Bank Settlement Plan [The New York Times]
In an uncommonly harsh statement, the State Department “strongly condemned” the move, asserting that it violated Israel’s pledge not to construct new settlements and ran counter to the long-term security interests Israel was seeking to protect with the military deal, which provides $38 billion in assistance over the next decade.
White House: Netanyahu Broke a Commitment, That's Not How You Treat Your Friends [Ha’aretz]
After State Department issues unusually harsh statement on Israeli plans for new settlement for Amona residents, White House says action 'undermines the pursuit of peace.' White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the decision constitutes a 'violation of a commitment undertaken by the Israeli government to the U.S. administration' and said 'this isn't how friends behave.'
Click here for State Department statement
Click here for White House Statement
US Hints at Linkage Between Military Assistance and Settlement Building [Jerusalem Post]
Using unusually sharp language, and citing both the recently signed military aid package to Israel and Shimon Peres' death, the White House and US State Department on Wednesday slammed Israel's intention to build a new neighborhood in the settlement of Shiloh as a possible site to relocate 40 families from the Amona outpost.
US Warns Settlements Harm Israel's Democratic Future [AFP]
In a strongly worded statement, the State Department said Israel's approval of 300 housing units in the West Bank "is another step towards cementing a one state reality of perpetual occupation." The plan, spokesman Mark Toner argued, not only undermines hopes for peace with the Palestinians but "is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state."