Biden quietly puts pressure on Israel over West Bank settlements

President Joe Biden shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, August 27, 2021. (credit: Evan Vucci / AP)
Biden administration continues to exert pressure on Bennett over settlements which most of the international community view as illegal.

By Barak Ravid | Axios | Oct 6, 2021

A senior U.S. official told me the Biden administration has been engaged with the Israeli government regarding settlements on a weekly basis since the meeting between Bennett and the president.

The Biden administration has been privately pressuring the Israeli government to show restraint ahead of a key decision on settlement building in the West Bank, Israeli and U.S. officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: Both sides want to keep this from becoming a point of tension between President Biden, who considers the settlements a threat to the two-state solution, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads a pro-settler party and is under political pressure on the issue.

  • Most of the international community views the West Bank settlements as illegal, and the Palestinians argue that Israel is claiming more and more land that should be part of their future state.

How it happened: Biden told Bennett in their Aug. 27 meeting at the White House that he expected Israel to show restraint on the settlements issue, and Bennett replied that Israel would build only according to needs arising from “natural growth.”

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