Israel Pressured by Obama's Tough Stance on Settlements

An informal arrangement between the Bush administration and previous Israeli governments allowed for so-called natural growth, but discouraged large-scale land acquisitions outside the boundary lines of the established settlements.

How Can Netanyahu Proceed?

Under an agreement between the Bush administration and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, joint U.S.-Israeli teams tried to delineate those boundaries, which are rarely well-drawn, but the process got bogged down and eventually was abandoned.

One view is that the Obama administration is now insisting on a full settlement freeze from Israel to induce confidence-building gestures and steps toward normalization from the Palestinians and crucial neighboring Arab states.

It's far from clear that Netanyahu has the will or the political backing to deliver a full freeze.

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