The Associated Press reports: The population of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank has continued to surge during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s years in office, growing at more than twice the pace of Israel’s overall population, according to newly obtained official figures.
Settlement growth also was strong beyond Israel’s separation barrier, seen by many as the basis for a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state.
The figures reflect Netanyahu’s continued support for settlement construction, even while repeatedly stating his commitment to the eventual establishment of an independent Palestinian state as part of a future peace agreement. They also could be a topic of discussion as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Netanyahu and European officials this week over a promised U.N. Security Council proposal dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Continue reading…]