News and analysis from Palestine, Israel and beyond.

Obama Makes Settlement Boycotts Kosher

When President Barack Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill last week, a precedent was set. The bill included a provision that “…requires the U.S. Trade Representative to discourage European Union countries from boycotting ‘Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories’ during free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU.”

Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit in the West Bank

Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit in the West Bank

In effect, this amendment treated Israeli settlements, for the first time in American history, as being part of Israel and therefore deserving the same protection. It was a small step; there is no enforcement mechanism in the bill.

However, it cracked the dam and opened the potential for a flood. This small amendment was a first step in reversing long-standing American opposition to the settlements, and its support for the two-state solution. Read more at Talking Points Memo