US to examine West Bank contact areas

Saleh Naami , Wednesday 13 Apr 2011

Israeli prime minister orders a halt in settlement expansion ahead of a proposed visit by US inspectors as Obama comes under renewed criticism for bowing to pressure by interest groups

An Israeli flag fluttering over a view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, (Reuters).

A Palestinian news website revealed on Wednesday that the United States has decided to send a special security unit to examine the borders and land separating Palestinian villages and towns from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.     

The website noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fears an adverse American reaction to an increase in the scale of Jewish settlement expansion on the Palestinian share of land.

This development, says the website, is the reason behind the Israeli occupation’s decision to freeze its plans to approve the building of more housing units in West Bank.   

Netanyahu had personally interfered to freeze bids proposed by the Israeli ministry of housing to build new units on occupied land in Jerusalem.     

Professor Amiram Goldblum, former spokesman for the Israeli ‘Peace Now’ movement, held successive US administrations – especially the Obama administration – as responsible for the expansion of Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank.

In an article published Wednesday in Israeli daily Haaretz, Goldblum said that they [US administrations] overlooked West Bank settlement activity and preferred not to enter into a direct confrontation with Israel and Jewish organizations in the United States.

Goldblum also criticised Obama, saying that his veto against a UN Security Council bill condemning settlement policies constitutes an important turning point in favour of settlement construction.

He asserted that Obama had killed the hopes of a change in policy after being subjected to pressure from American Jewish organization and Christian right leaders.

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