For the first time, his administration has confirmed that President Trump is committed to a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
The Trump administration told Israel yesterday to cease the construction of new settlements and stop expanding others because it “may not help” achieve peace with Palestinians.
The Independent reports:
President Donald Trump has offered his firm support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a number of occasions, signalling he could be more amenable towards the process of settlement building than his predecessor Barack Obama, who repeatedly condemned their construction. Mr Trump has also characterised Mr Obama actions towards Israel as weak and accusing him of treating the country with “disdain.”
However, it appears the White House were taken by surprise by the speed with which plans for thousands of new settler homes – construction of which is condemned by much of the international community – were put in place by Israeli authorities. In the last two weeks 5,500 new homes have been approved for construction in the West Bank, land that the Palestinians want as part of any future state. It is the largest expansion of construction since US-led peace talks broke down in April 2014.
“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years,” the White House statement reads. “While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”