Israel's supreme court has ordered 30 illegal settlements in the West Bank enclave of Ulpana destroyed by July 1. So Benjamin Netanyahu and the ruling coalition responded yesterday with promises to build 850 new apartments in other parts of the West Bank, reports the AP. "Thirty apartments will be evacuated, but 850 will be built instead," said Israel's Construction Minister Ariel Attias in a statement. "Under the circumstances, this is a worthy solution."
The new settlement announcement "undermines all efforts to revive the peacemaking between the two sides," said a senior Palestinian official. Palestinians have refused to resume negotiating with Israel as long as settlements continue to be built. "We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," said a US State Department rep. "It impedes progress on any kind of comprehensive settlement, and that's ultimately what everyone here, most importantly both sides, both parties, want to see happen. Or at least that's what they claim to want to see happen." (Read more Israel and Palestinians stories.)