Meanwhile, Back in the West Bank . . .

While Benjamin Netanyahu heads to the White House later today for his first official meeting with President Obama, is anyone listening to the Israeli Armed Forces Radio? At least the ANP, the Netherlands national press agency, is listening, and it provides the information that enables the Algemeen Dagblad to report on what is going on under the radar back in the Middle East while the American and Israeli heads of government have their discussions.

Whether the Israeli Armed Forces Radio broadcast in question is an explicit advertisement or not is unclear, but its point is to announce the opening of registration to purchase one of twenty new houses in Maskiot, a Jewish settler colony in the occupied West Bank. In fact, as we learn from its very own Wikipedia article, Maskiot is so deep into the West Bank – it’s way over on the other side from Israel, right on the Jordan river, for Heaven’s sake – that past attempts to expand it have drawn the publicly-expressed ire of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the British government, and even George W. Bush’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

Where is the public anger now? Clearly this sort of thing, in addition to being a direct slap in the face to the Palestinian Authority, is tremendously counter-productive to the sort of two-state solution and peace negotiations which are the main elements of the desired American approach to achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Does Netanyahu really remain unaware of this as he heads to meet with President Obama over precisely such measures, or is he just breathtakingly cynical?

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