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Bibi Tells Settlers: ‘Don’t Be Piggy’

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the Yiddish word for pig to describe just what settlers can and cannot do when it comes to expanding settlements in the West Bank.

“You can be a pig, but don’t be a khazer,” Netanyahu said, explaining that this is the phrase used by President Trump’s advisers when discussing the issue with his chief of staff Yoav Horowitz. The message Netanyahu was trying to convey to leaders of the settlement movement gathered in his office was that while the Trump administration is less critical then previous administrations when it comes to Israeli settlement expansion, actions on the ground should be measured and not taken in a “piggish” manner.

Trump and his Middle East team, are considerably more accommodating to the settlement issue than Obama was and no longer see a difference between expansion of building within the recognized settlement blocs and that of settlements and outposts scattered deeper in the West Bank. Still, Netanyahu stressed that Trump’s willingness not to criticize Israel for expanding settlements is conditioned on adhering to Netanyahu’s commitment to Trump to limit this expansion.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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