The U.S. considers settlements to be illegal or illegitimate, viewing them as obstacles to peace.
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Israeli settlements have grown in Obama yearsIn his landmark speech to the Arab world seven years ago, President Barack Obama warned that Israeli settlements on occupied territories were undermining hopes for peace. Despite the Israeli defiance over settlements and a long history of friction between Obama and Netanyahu, the two countries signed a deal this week giving Israel $38 billion in U.S. military aid over 10 years, the largest deal of its kind in American history.The settlement figures, obtained from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, show that 12,288 new settlement buildings were started in the West Bank during Obama's term up to June 30, the most recent data available.Obama did manage to coax Israel into a partial settlement freeze in 2009 and 2010, briefly slowing down construction.Over five decades, the Israeli settler population in the West Bank has grown to roughly 400,000 people in dozens of settlements, in addition to 200,000 others in areas of East Jerusalem.A senior Obama administration official acknowledged the settlements have continued growing significantly during the Obama years.
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