Haaretz reports today that “Israel has moved ahead with a plan to build a new settlement in the northern West Bank for the first time in 26 years, pursuing a project the United States has already condemned as an obstacle to peace efforts.” In a much-anticipated press conference today with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, President Obama said that new Israeli settlements “have to be stopped”:
OBAMA: Now, Israel is going have to take some difficult steps as well. And I shared with Prime Minister the fact that, under the road map, under Annapolis there’s a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements, that settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward. That’s a difficult thing to recognize, but it’s an important one. And it has to be addressed. I think the humanitarian situation in Gaza has to be addressed.
Speaking to AIPAC last month, Vice President Biden and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) also called on Israel to freeze settlement activity.