Israel Snubs Washington, Plans New West Bank Homes

Netanyahu signing off on new settlements before negotiated freeze
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2009 5:25 AM CDT
Construction vehicles are seen working on a new housing development in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa in east Jerusalem, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009.   (AP Photo/ Tara Todras-Whitehill)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu will approve the construction of several hundred housing units in the West Bank, snubbing the Obama adminisration's demands for a halt to new settlements. The Israeli prime minister informed the White House of his plans weeks ago, Haaretz reports. The US and Israel are still negotiating the terms of a settlement moratorium, but Netanyahu wants projects already underway excluded from any freeze.

"The Americans do not agree and are not happy about it, but we put it on the table a long time ago," an official close to Netanyahu said. A Palestinian negotiator was furious: "The only thing that will be suspended by this announcement is the peace process."