Trump silent on Israel’s law legalizing homes in Judea and Samaria

Trump is waiting to speak with Netanyahu before announcing his official policy on Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.

Washington has remained silent on the Knesset’s historic passage of the Regulation bill into law late Monday night.

The new law legalizes some 4,000 Israeli homes in Judea and Samaria, protecting them from ownership claims by alleged Palestinian landowners.

The White House responded to the Knesset vote by referring to its statement from last week, following Israel’s announcement that it had approved the construction of thousands of new homes in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. According to the statement, the Trump administration does not view “the existence of settlements as an impediment to peace,” although construction of new settlements “may not be helpful” to the Israel-Palestinian diplomatic process.

A State Department official said that “the administration needs to have the chance to fully consult with all parties on the way forward.”

“At this point, indications are that this legislation is likely to be reviewed by the relevant Israeli courts, and the Trump administration will withhold comment on the legislation until the relevant court ruling,” the anonymous official told AFP.

Many analysts expect that Israel’s High Court will deem the law unconstitutional and strike it down, thus sparing the White House a possible showdown with Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington next week. The issue of Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria is among the topics to be discussed.

When asked about the Knesset vote during a media briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he does not “want to get too far ahead of this, but Prime Minister Netanyahu will be here on the 15th.  I think that will be obviously a topic of discussion right now.  I don’t want to get ahead of that.”

Meanwhile, the international community and Arab leaders slammed the law, with the Palestinians calling it an attempt to “legalize theft” of Palestinian land.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News