Israeli Minister: Not much difference between Trump and Obama on ‘settlements’

Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz said that “Trump is certainly a friend of Israel” but that there isn’t much difference from his predecessor regarding construction in Judea and Samaria. 

Israel’s Minister of Infrastructure Yuval Steinitz said that not much appears to distinguish Trump from Obama when it comes to Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.

“I always said there was no place for celebrations and festivities,” Steinitz told Israel Army Radio on Tuesday, Times of Israel (TOI) reported.

Steinitz, who referred to the rejoicing of Trump’s inauguration from some on the Israeli right as having been premature, said that “Trump is certainly a friend of Israel,” but that that there was not a radical departure on the part of his administration from the Obama administration in terms of policy and rhetoric.

Steinitz made his remarks as President Donald Trump’s senior advisor on Israel, Jason Greenblatt, was meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for five hours on Tuesday. According to Greenblatt, the meeting largely dealt with “settlements” and making progress in the peace process with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu and the members of his coalition, many of whom are pushing to expand Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, have yet to receive explicit permission and approval from the Trump administration to move forward with construction in Judea and Samaria. Israel Army Radio also reported that “there’s a problem” with building in areas of Judea and Samaria that are outside of Jerusalem’s municipality, and that the Trump administration has not yet authorized such construction.

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Steinitz did, however, express his belief that the US president would follow through on his plan to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I personally believe that Trump will stand by his clear commitment to relocate the embassy,” he told Israel Army Radio, TOI reported.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News