The issue concerning continued building of housing in West Bank settlements continues to create a bridge between the United States and Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Obama’s special envoy, George Mitchell, that his government would not halt what he termed “natural growth” of housing in the settlements. He also expressed the view, “Israel is working to promote peace and security with our Palestinian neighbors and the wider Arab world.” However, the refusal on the part of Netanyahu to even say he was in favor of an independent Palestinian state most probably reflects his real aim which is to delay and hamper any efforts on the part of the United States, Palestinians, and the wider Arab world for a peaceful solution.
The West Bank was seized by Israel forces in 1967 and thus is occupied territory. Neither the UN or any international body has ever awarded that area to Israel which makes the settlements illegal under any definition of international law.