Israel denies committing to construction freeze in Judea and Samaria

Netanyahu’s office denies commitment was made to slow construction, a claim recently reported by Arab media.

As US President Donald Trump’s administration prepares to facilitate peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Arab media outlet Al-Hayat claimed that Israel had agreed to slow down construction in Judea and Samaria, reported Ynet News. According to Al-Hayat, Trump’s special advisor and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt relayed to a Palestinian delegation that Israel would place constraints on construction during peace negotiations.

In response to these reports, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office announced, “There is no such commitment.”

Greenblatt allegedly made the comments while meeting with the PLO Executive Committee, headed by Saeb Erekat. The meeting took place during Greenblatt’s “interim visit” this week, which serves as a precursor to Trump’s anticipated announcement of new peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Building Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria remains a point of contention for the Palestinians, who consistently seek to frame construction in that region as an obstacle to peace. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals with regard to its position on Israeli construction. While State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert intoned that Trump sees “settlements as something that does not help the peace process,” the president appointed as Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a man who has been supportive of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Trump is the latest US president to try his hand at forging a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. As a show of good faith to Trump, Netanyahu volunteered in March to restrict new construction. Trump for his part has signaled that his administration may take a new approach by considering a regional peace initiative as an alternative to the traditional bilateral track that has consistently failed in the past.

According to Ynet News, Greenblatt informed senior Palestinian officials that Trump will request that Israel and the Palestinians approach negotiations without preconditions on final status issues.

By: World Israel News Staff