Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Obama in Washington on Tuesday to mend fences between the nations. One of the big looming questions is whether Israel will resume settlement construction in the West Bank once the country’s 10-month moratorium on building expires. Jewish settlements currently cover 42 percent of the West Bank, says the Associated Press, and that growth has been spurred by U.S. government policies: The New York Times reports that “at least 40 American groups that have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last decade.” While most of that money has been used for schools, synagogues, and the like, it has also been spent on guard dogs, bulletproof vests, and rifle scopes. Meanwhile, Israel’s Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat is already guaranteeing that construction will resume in the West Bank once the moratorium expires.
Heads of State