White House declines to criticize Netanyahu for comments on settlements
Photo by Kobi Gidon/GPO
WASHINGTON – A senior Trump administration official refrained from criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for promising on Monday that he would not uproot West Bank settlements. “It is no secret what each side’s position is on this issue,” a senior White House official told Jewish Insider. “Our focus is on continuing our conversations with both parties and regional leaders to work towards facilitating a deal that factors in all substantive issues.”
Addressing an event celebrating 50 years of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Netanyahu said, “We are here to stay forever. There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. This is the inheritance of our ancestors. This is our land.”
Netanyahu’s remarks come shortly after a senior White House delegation visited Israel and the West Bank in the Trump administration’s quest to secure the “ultimate deal” or a final status peace agreement. President Donald Trump had previously refused to endorse a two state solution, breaking with previous Democrat and Republican presidents.
In a readout of Jared Kushner’s meeting with Netanyahu last week, the White House said, “The United States delegation encouraged Israel to create an environment conducive to peacemaking, including by working with the Palestinians on projects of mutual interest and benefit.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed the Trump administration and suggested that the U.S. was biased against Ramallah during the ongoing peace talks in a July 31 interview with Jewish Insider.
“Israel announces thousands of new settlement units that make it almost impossible to achieve the two-state solution, and it’s merely met with silence from U.S. officials,” Erekat said.