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White House Won’t Criticize First New Israeli Settlement In 20 Years

(JTA) — White House officials appeared to show understanding for the Israeli government’s decision to build a new settlement in the West Bank for the first time in 20 years, despite condemnations at the United Nations and by the Palestinians of the move.

One official told the Times of Israel yesterday that “we would note that the Israeli prime minister made a commitment to the Amona settlers prior to President Trump laying out his expectations” that Israel reduce construction in settlements. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Earlier on Thursday, Israel’s security cabinet gave the go-ahead for the building of a settlement for Jewish residents of Amona, a West Bank outpost of 40 homes that was evacuated in February.

In February, President Donald Trump said that he would like to see Israel “hold back on settlements a little bit.” Earlier in February, Trump had said settlement expansion “may not be helpful” in achieving peace.

The official interviewed by Times of Israel also indicated that Jerusalem had agreed to restrain settlement construction — but after the new community.




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