Netanyahu and Trump’s administration on settlement construction deal
On Thursday Benjamin Netanyahu the Prime Minister of Israel with
Donald Trump’s administration had discussion on ways to move ahead
with settlement construction ahead of fresh talks with a top adviser
to the US president.
Netanyahu also reiterated he intended to build a new “community” for
residents of a wildcat Jewish outpost in the occupied West Bank known
as Amona, which was evacuated under court order in February.
An Israeli government-sanctioned settlement would be the first official
new settlement in more than 20 years and would surely draw intense
international criticism. He said.
Construction in recent years has involved expanding existing settlements
in the West Bank, with many countries warning it is gradually eating away
at any chance of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
“This afternoon I will meet again with President Trump’s envoy,
Jason Greenblatt,” Netanyahu told ministers at the start of a cabinet
meeting in remarks relayed by his office.
“We are in the midst of a process of dialogue with the White House and
our intention is to reach an agreed-upon policy regarding settlement
construction,” Netanyahu said. “Agreed-upon for us, of course,
not just for the American side.
“Naturally, this will be good for the state of Israel, since we have not been
in these processes for many years,” Netanyahu said.
US president Barack Obama’s administration frequently criticised Israel
over settlement construction.
Obama’s White House also declined to veto a UN Security resolution condemning
Israeli settlement building in December, deeply angering Netanyahu.
Greenblatt’s visit to the region marks the Trump administration’s dive into the
decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which the new US president said
he intended to resolve.
Netanyahu and Greenblatt met in Jerusalem on Monday, where the two
discussed ways to reach peace and settlement construction.
The following day, Trump’s envoy met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah.
On Wednesday, Greenblatt met Israeli President Reuven Rivlin before travelling to
Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah II.
The peace process has been deadlocked since April 2014 when indirect negotiations
led by then US secretary of state John Kerry collapsed.
The visit comes after Trump cast uncertainty over years of international efforts to
foster a two-state solution to the conflict when he met Netanyahu at the White
House last month.
At that meeting, Trump broke with decades of US policy by saying he was not bound to
a two-state solution to the conflict and would be open to one state if it meant peace.
The international community considers continuing settlement growth in the West Bank a
major obstacle to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their
In his Thursday remarks, Netanyahu stressed his commitment to build a new
West Bank community for the Amona settlers.
“To the residents of Amona, I reiterate: I gave you a promise to build a new community
and I will honour that commitment,” he said.
Israel media said the construction of a new settlement was part of discussions
on Monday between Greenblatt and Netanyahu.