Netanyahu faces resistance to teaming with Trump on ‘settlements’ policy

Objectors to the establishment of a joint US-Israel team on construction in Judea and Samaria include Israel’s public security minister as well as the region’s community representatives.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing resistance domestically to the establishment of a joint team with the Trump administration that would focus on Israel’s policies regarding construction in Judea and Samaria.

“As long as the territory of the settlements is 23% of the territory of Judea and Samaria, there is no reason to restrict hundreds of thousands of Jews who live there and have the power to exercise their right to ownership and expand,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “President Trump said ‘hold back a bit,’ which could also be two or three days.”

Erdan was referring to Trump’s remarks in Washington on Wednesday during a joint press conference with Netanyahu, in which the president called for Israel to “hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

The YESHA Council, an organization that represents the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, also criticized the establishment of such a team, appearing to perceive it as a sign of continued restrictions on Israeli construction in both regions that existed during the Obama administration.

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“During the first term of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, some 3,500 construction starts were declared on average each year,” YESHA stated. “During the last terms, the average stands at 1,600, less than half. Our demand is to end the policy of Obama and to fill the construction gap created in recent years.”

“After an eight-year freeze on planning and construction in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, we must resume expedited, ongoing construction in the settlements without the intervention of any outside elements,” the YESHA statement added.

By: Jonathan Benedek World Israel News