Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No New West Bank Construction Under Bibi

World leaders - including Pres. Obama - have been urging hard line Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to not authorize any new settlement construction on the West Bank as a first step toward peace with the Palestinians. Netanyahu has refused to embrace this call. And his supporters have rallied around him because, for once, Israel is standing up to world pressure. The only problem with this oft cited scenario is Netanyahu hasn't approved any new construction since he's been sworn in.

Yes, there is construction going on on the West Bank. But all of the was approved prior to his taking office.

It's an interesting dichotomy. It may be another case of saying one thing and doing another. Or in this case, not saying one thing and not doing another.

Perceptions, it is said, sometimes are more important than reality. Many critics of Israel will likely continue to decry Netanyahu for his stance. And his supporters will continue to sing his praises. But the truth of the matter is, he is no more a hard liner than his predecessors when it comes to new West Bank construction. Only time will tell, but he may actually be more accommodating to the various leader's calls to not approve further construction than it appears.

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