Trump to Israel: New settlements 'may not be helpful' to peace process


#1

President Donald Trump on Thursday warned Israel that constructing new settlements “may not be helpful” to Middle East peace efforts, shifting toward a tougher line with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Still, the White House made clear that the Trump administration “has not taken an official position on settlement activity,” departing from previous administrations that have considered the settlements illegitimate.

Trump has been perceived as sympathetic to the settlements. Shortly before taking office, he vigorously criticized the Obama administration for not vetoing a United Nations Security Council measure condemning settlements.

But in a statement Thursday, the White House said, “While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”

chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-israel-new-west-bank-settlement-20170202-story.html

Trump warns Israel: Stop announcing new settlements

WASHINGTON – The White House warned Israel on Thursday to cease settlement announcements that are “unilateral” and “undermining” of President Donald Trump’s effort to forge Middle East peace, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post.

For the first time, the administration confirmed that Trump is committed to a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict negotiated between the parties.

The official told the Post that the White House was not consulted on Israel’s unprecedented announcement of 5,500 new settlement housing units over the course of his first two weeks in office.

“As President Trump has made clear, he is very interested in reaching a deal that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is currently exploring the best means of making progress toward that goal,” the official said.

"With that in mind, we urge all parties to refrain from taking unilateral actions that could undermine our ability to make progress, including settlement announcements,” the official added. “The administration needs to have the chance to fully consult with all parties on the way forward.”

Trump plans to bring up the peace process in his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House scheduled for February 15.

jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Trump-warns-Israel-Stop-announcing-new-settlements-480446

This appears one of the first indications of the Trump administrations policy. It sounds reasonably diplomatic.


#2

Diplomatic it may be, and it might be heartfelt. But I personally do not agree with preventing Jewish settlements in the WEst Bank. If Arabs and Jews ever learn to live together, it will probably only be through the experience of living together. Unfortunately, Jews can’t live there in anything but defensible settlements because of Arab terrorism. But the day may come when they can.


#3

It may be coincidence, yet this slight shift in tone coincided with Sec of State Rex Tillersons phone conversation yesterday with PM Netanyahu.

If the Trump Admin is intent on setting up the negotiating table to even discuss a two-state solution - it’s going to have to be somewhat impartial and nuanced. These discussions most certainly would have to include the terrible problem with corruption in Fatah; which pushed many Palestinians to Hamas. This puts much at risk; since the Israelis could not negotiate with a West Bank led by Hamas.

The Israel’s Supreme Court ruling on the Amona illegal outpost, being Palestinian private land - and the eviction by Israeli forces demonstrated there is a respect for Palestinian land ownership. That would be a point of discussion as well.

It’s estimated some 400,000 Jews now live in West Bank settlements another approx. 200,000 Jews in East Jerusalem. I believe I read about 18 or so percent of the overall population. It’s not as though they are completely unrepresented in the West Bank population. They need to maintain the status quo, or risk being seen as occupiers by the majority of the world.


#4

Why freeze the Jewish population in the West Bank? Is it frozen in America? Is it frozen in Britain? Certainly, the Arab population in the West Bank is not frozen. Why only Jews?


#5

I’d say, further settlements and expansions are a hindrance to the orientation of negotiating the Palestinians taking authority over the West Bank. This freezing of expansion is an important show of goodwill towards sitting at the table. The Israelis are not going to agree for a West Bank that does not allow Jews, nor should they.

I’m just advocating being reasonable. I’m not going to sit and talk with my neighbor over a land dispute; say, where I claim a section of land behind my house is my property yet they start erecting a fence on that parcel of land. I would agree to hold off doing anything myself until we got an official survey or arbitration.


#6

Israel has frozen settlements before in order to negotiate, but the Arabs wouldn’t. Maybe it will work this time. Who knows?

But frankly, I think a total Arab takeover of the West Bank is a non-starter for several reasons. First, because it would almost certainly result in Hamas’ taking over the WEst Bank, which Israel cannot tolerate. Second, because, knowing that, I suspect the P.A. really doesn’t want that kind of solution, preferring Israeli protection, employment, and money to Hamas dictatorship, corruption (their own) poverty, and bloodshed.


#7

Unfortunately, I don’t think there will be peace there.

The UN has been pushing for a return to two nations. Below is a 1956 Map, of how they proposed splitting Israel into 3 parts.

– Jewish State
– Arab State
– Greater Jerusalem (international territory)

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/UN_Palestine_Partition_Versions_1947.jpg

I honestly think the only path to peace would be to re-instate the original plan


#8

I don’t trust Trump at all but this may be the first thing that he did that I like. I’ll wait and see as they say. I just hope he’s not too cranky with Netanyahu.


#9

I can’t imagine Israelis wanting to return to a map the Arabs have twice tried to destroy by wiping out Israel altogether. The thinness of Israel at the “waist” is an invitation to disaster, being only nine miles. There might be no solution at all, because of the Arab fixation with “Dar al Islam” and teaching each succeeding generation to hate Jews. But maybe someday there can be.

And neither would I want to give a big piece of the Negev to Hamas. Never.


#10

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