|June 17, 2009||Permalink|
Relations between the Israeli government and the Obama administration have become tense lately over the issue of growing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Nearly 300,000 Israelis now live in such settlements, alongside some 2.5 million Palestinians. The tense disputes over the settlements touch on religious and historical claims, local and international laws, and, of course political disagreements. The settlements range in size and permanence from "wildcat" outposts made of plywood shacks to established cities of tens of thousands. The international community views over 100 of the settlements as illegal under international law. Despite calls from the U.S. for a complete freeze on expansion, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, though Israel would not build any new settlements and would dismantle unauthorized outposts, it would still allow building within existing settlements to accommodate "natural growth." Collected here are some scenes from West Bank settlements over the past few months. (37 photos total)
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