Trump warns Israel that expanding West Bank settlements not 'good for peace'

A recently approved apartment building in a West Bank settlement reportedly was funded by an organization headed by David Friedman, President Donald Trump's nominee for ambassador to Israel.

Trump's statements come a few days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves for Washington to meet with the U.S. president on Wednesday.

The paper also quoted Trump as calling on Israel to act "reasonably" over the peace process and, citing the limited land available, as saying: "I'm not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace".

Trump appeared to question Netanyahu's claim that the settlements were not an obstacle to peace.

Abbas said the world needs to differentiate between the occupied Palestinian territories including Jerusalem and Israel, and reject the apartheid system which will drag everyone into a cycle of conflict and make the chances to achieve peace much slimmer.

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According to Bishop Shomali: "if the lands where they build illegal settlements belong to Palestinian owners, one must not touch them, as we must not take away the property of the Jews who live in countries with a Muslim majority".

"I'm learning the issue and we'll see what happens". It's not an easy decision. "But we are looking at all different kinds of options", Trump said.

In December, the Trump transition team refused to meet with Palestinian officials visiting Washington, putting them off until after the January 20 inauguration, according to senior Abbas aide Saeb Erekat, the main point man for official contacts with the United States. "I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace".

The apparent U-turn followed an equally dramatic reversal in Trump's position on China, after a phone call with President Xi Jinping in which Trump said he would not challenge Beijing by upending longstanding United States policy towards Taiwan. "I want to see peace happen".

Responding to the question of whether his administration would criticise Israel, he said: "Israel has a long history of condemnations and difficulties". I do not want to condemn Israel during my tenure. He said Israelis have been through rough times and that he understands and appreciates Israel.

  • Adam Floyd