Israel postpones ‘settlement’ discussions until after Trump’s visit

A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the postponement of a meeting on additional construction in Judea and Samaria “was necessary” in light of Trump’s upcoming visit to Israel. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office postponed a scheduled meeting this week with the Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee that was to focus on additional construction in Judea and Samaria, in consideration of President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit, according to a Haaretz report.

“We didn’t want to hold discussions on the settlements close to Trump’s visit,” a senior official reportedly told Haaretz. “The postponement was necessary.”

Israel has yet to reach an understanding with the Trump administration regarding what construction in Judea and Samaria will be authorized by the White House. Israel established a joint mechanism with the Trump administration earlier this year for such discussions.

Israel does not want the Palestinian Authority (PA) to have a bone to pick during Trump’s visit. In addition, Israel wishes to prevent a repeat of the outcome of former US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit in March 2010. At that time Israel built 1600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo, a Jerusalem neighborhood located in territory won from Jordan during the Six Day War in 1967. The decision lacked White House authorization and Israel received a scolding from Biden and Obama.

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Israeli ministers expressed mixed signals regarding the Trump administration’s positions on Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria. While Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely previously suggested the Trump White House might not oppose annexation of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz said Trump’s policy on Israeli construction in both regions would resemble Obama’s.

By: World Israel News Staff