The built-up areas make up only 2 percent to 3 percent of the West Bank, and Mr. Netanyahu is arguing that the 2,000 or so housing units that might be built in the coming year while a final agreement was being negotiated would matter little in the end. If the talks stop, the building would be likely to increase.
But Palestinians say they have been told for years that negotiations would bring an end to the settlements. The only way forward, they maintain, is to end the construction first.
Looking at it that way, Netanyahu's right. The question is whether all the other other issues, especially the status of Jerusalem, could be settled within those 2,000 settlement units.