Over thirty years ago, Israel began to construct housing on the West Bank using the argument such housing units were necessary to assist in the defence of the nation. As the years have passed, Israel West Bank settlers have grown from a few hundred to a few thousand and now over 300,000 creating a formidable barrier to establishment of peace with the Palestinian Authority. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry blasted the latest Israel plans to construct about 800 new housing units in East Jerusalem as a blow to peace. Each Israel development adds one more issue to the plate of negotiations and increases conflict between both sides as the Israelis attempt to protect settlements and the Palestinians try to destory them.
The Bush administration did issue a statement urging Israel not to build the housing in East Jerusalem, but it is clear the statement was made in order to show the Arab world George Bush has an even handed Middle Eastern policy. In reality, nothing will eve be done to exert pressure on Israel to halt such construction.