The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was further escalated following the 1967 War when Jewish citizens of Israel began settling--squatting--on lands occupied by Israel as a result of that war. Those settlements are considered illegal under international law; many of them illegal even under Israeli law. Those illegal settlements have never been in the interests of the US, and in fact have been opposed by all US Presidents with the exception of President Reagan.
In an Op-Ed that appeared in The Washington Post on 26 November, 2000 Jimmy Carter opened with the following paragraph:
An underlying reason that years of U.S. diplomacy have failed and violence in the Middle East persists is that some Israeli leaders continue to "create facts" by building settlements in occupied territory. Their deliberate placement as islands or fortresses within Palestinian areas makes the settlers vulnerable to attack without massive military protection, frustrates Israelis who seek peace and at the same time prevents any Palestinian government from enjoying effective territorial integrity.
President Carter concluded with the following:
The major issues still to be resolved remain unchanged: the final boundaries of the state of Israel, the return of, or compensation for, Palestinians dislodged from their previous homes and the status of Jerusalem. It seems almost inevitable that the United States will initiate new peace efforts, but it is unlikely that real progress can be made on any of these issues as long as Israel insists on its settlement policy, illegal under international laws that are supported by the United States and all other nations.
There are many questions as we continue to seek an end to violence in the Middle East, but there is no way to escape the vital one: Land or peace?
In 1991 President George H W Bush postponed $10 billion in guaranteed loans to Israel until receiving a pledge from Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that the proceeds would not be used to expand Jewish settlements. But there were repercussions. " He got crushed in a small group of heavily Jewish precincts in states such as New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Florida in his November 1992 election loss to Bill Clinton." [see]
In 2010 when Vice President Biden traveled to Israel to restart peace talks with the Palestinians he was blindsided with Israel's announcement of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. [see]
After many weeks of shuttle diplomacy to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013 Israel announced, the week when the talks were to begin, 1,200 new housing units in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The announcement "aggravated tensions over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements by the Palestinians as part of a future state, a complaint that kept Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas away from the peace table for most of the last five years." [see]
Israel refers to the settlements as "facts on the ground" and has continued to increase the number of such facts incessantly, no matter that US official policy is opposed to them. Congress has never taken a step to oppose the settlements. On the contrary, each year scores of congressmen are escorted to Israel gratis by the Israel Lobby to view the settlements first hand. The organizations that fund the congressmen's free trips to Israel receive major amounts of their funds from US organizations that also send tax-deductible money directly to organizations in Israel that fund the settlements. [see]
The expansion of the illegal settlements in the occupied territories flies in the face of US interests and policy. The settlements are supported by the US Congress in many cases because of intimidation by the Israel Lobby. US-supplied weapons defend the settlements that are obstructions to a permanent peace agreement and which prevents the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. I therefore maintain that Israel and the Israel Lobby, by achieving congressional acquiescence on this critical issue, indeed controls the US Middle East policy on this most important element.
On September 5, 2012 the Guardian, the New York Times, and ProPublica all published stories with the latest revelations based on documents released by Edward Snowden. These articles, based on NSA budget documents, confirmed not only that the NSA was attempting to nullify any and all attempts to maintain encrypted privacy on the Internet, but that in fact they, and the UK's intelligence agency GCHQ, had substantially succeeded in doing so.
"Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security
James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald
Guardian Weekly, 5 September 2013
" NSA and GCHQ unlock encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records
" $250m-a-year US program works covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products
" Security experts say programs 'undermine the fabric of the internet"