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Think Progress – Obama’s Pro-Israel Record

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Obama’s Pro-Israel Record

By Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Matt Duss, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader

Earlier this week, Israel announced plans to build more than one thousand new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem, the first such announcement since a similar move in March during a visit by Vice President Biden led to serious tension between the two governments. Settlements have been a major sticking point in the negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, with the Palestinians refusing to continue direct talks in the absence of a settlement freeze, and  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu refusing to extend a partial moratorium on their construction. President Obama criticized the announcement, saying, “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.” Before meeting with Netanyahu in New York on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the proposed construction “counterproductive,” and said the U.S. was “deeply disappointed” by the announcement. A statement from Netanyahu said Jerusalem was “not a settlement” and there was “no link”  between peace talks and settlements. The two leaders had a “marathon” nearly seven hour meeting, after which a joint statement describing “good discussions” that involved “a friendly and productive exchange of views on both sides.” Veteran Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller told Politico’s Laura Rozen that the long meeting was a good sign. “Six hours means negotiations; that means that they’re ironing out differences between the U.S. and Israel on a formula for resumption.” Mark Rosenblum of Americans for Peace Nowhere predicted that “There is a new game plan, and there will be a new trade-off to get to a partial moratorium on settlements.”

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