Liberman: Israel must reach understandings with Trump administration

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman suggested Israel should reach understandings with the incoming Trump administration regarding Iran as well as construction in Judea and Samaria.

Israel’s defense minister said Wednesday that Israel should seek an understanding with President-elect Donald Trump that would allow Israeli construction in blocks of communities in Judea and Samaria, while freezing building in more remote and less populated areas – a proposal that, if accepted, would mark a sharp break from the policy under previous US administrations.

“If we get permission by the administration” to expand building in the blocs, “we have to grab it with both hands,” said Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Liberman’s comments came as Israeli lawmakers are trying to gauge how Trump will address the issue of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, which he has expressed support for during his elections campaign.

Under President Barack Obama, Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria became a major flashpoint with Israel and was almost completely stopped.

Israel has argued that groupings of communities known as “blocs” — where a majority of Israelis live — should remain in Israel under any peace deal with the Palestinians, with other smaller ones possibly relinquished.

His comments rankled Israeli lawmakers who said his remarks were unnecessary and made too early on. In general, many of them oppose limits on Israeli construction Judea and Samaria.

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Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was said that Liberman’s comments did not reflect the position of the government, but represented his views alone.

During his campaign, Trump appeared to be more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians, which energized Israelis. He has vowed not to impose any solutions on Israel and promised to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, a declarative step that would undercut Palestinian claims to Israel’s capital.

By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report