"The relationship with the United States is more important to [Benjamin Netanyahu] than settlements," said Jonathan Rynhold, an expert in U.S.-Israel relations at Bar-Ilan University, where last month, the prime minister announced for the first time that he would conditionally accept the eventual creation of a Palestinian state. "He does not want to lose his credibility with the Americans. He says that you don't have to do everything they say, but that you do have to be reasonable. Otherwise, you will lose all your backing when there are more important issues on the agenda, like Iran."While the Netanyahu government has not approved any new settlement construction, even for "natural growth," enough building plans have already been approved to keep settlement construction going for years, according to Israeli critics of the settlements."The prime minister still does not really believe that this is the right path for Israel," [Livni] said at the Knesset, "but he understands that this is the right thing to say."