Israel approves largest West Bank settlements in 25 years

EU warns Israel against settlement units in Occupied West Bank

Israel has certainly been imperfect over the years, but at the conflict's core lies the Palestinian leadership's continued refusal to accept the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state and unwillingness to confront the substantive issues at the heart of the dispute.

One of the reasons for doing so, and an argument that is commonly used by advocates of illegal Israeli settlers is that Israelis have every right to live on Palestinian land, the same way Palestinians reside in Israel.

The Israeli media have been celebrating the "reunification".

Settlements are illegal under global law. Many Israelis would even call it the "liberation" of the eastern part of the city. But even that I think goes too far. Many Palestinian neighborhoods have suffered neglect and underfunding. The plans are at various stages in the process and the units are located in a number of settlements across the West Bank.

Bilal Abu Ghanem, 21, is escorted by Israeli prison officers at the District court in Jerusalem on November 9, 2015 to face charges of three counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder for carrying out a terror attack together with his friend on a bus in Jerusalem in which three people were killed.

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Nowhere does he reference Israeli initiatives - at Camp David in 2000 and at Annapolis in 2008 - which could have produced a Palestinian state had Palestinian leaders not walked away.

When Jews around the world pray facing Jerusalem, it is not the Shoafat refugee camp or the fix garages in Sheikh Jarrah that they are praying to and the idea that these areas have become "undividedly" Israeli is laughable.

They are the first new settlement announcements since Trump's visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories last month, when he tried to encourage both sides back to the negotiating table.

Sears released a statement Wednesday saying that they removed their "Free Palestine" shirts from its online marketplace.

Cliff Savren is a former Clevelander who covers the Middle East for the Cleveland Jewish News from Ra'anana, Israel.

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