Israel Moves Ahead with Construction

Despite advice to the contrary from the United States, Israel’s Interior Ministry threw peace talks with the Palestinian Authority into jeopardy on Monday by announcing that it would move ahead with plans to build 1,300 new apartments in the West Bank. The Palestinians, who have insisted they will not resume negotiations until construction is halted, immediately condemned the decision. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently in the United States, where he met Sunday with Joe Biden and is due to see Hillary Clinton on Thursday. It is unclear whether he was aware of the announcent’s timing. "We thought that Netanyahu would go to the States to announce a cessation of settlement activities to pave the way for direct negotiations to resume," said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. "Unfortunately, he chose to send a strong message that his choice is settlements and not peace." The U.S. State Department added that the construction “is counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties.”