T. Belman. Trump is betraying Israel. He is not living up to his campaign rhetoric. If Trump won’t let us build in the settlement blocks, which everyone knows we will keep, he knifed us in the back. Israel must push for what it wants and not be hostage to obtaining his approval.
Now that Trump is making his moves in the peace process, we are better able to understand why he picked Mattis and McMaster for his cabinet.
Israel wants blessing for construction within settlement ‘city limits’ — potentially tripling enterprise, Army Radio reports, but Washington only on board with East Jerusalem building
After more than five hours of talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump administration envoy Jason Greenblatt on Monday, at which President Trump’s public call to rein in settlement building was discussed, very wide gaps remain between the sides. The complex bid to coordinate positions will now be taken up by Greenblatt and Israel’s Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, Israel’s Army Radio reported on Tuesday.
In principle, Israel wants to be able to build anywhere within the “city limits” (t’hum hashiput) of all settlements, potentially tripling the settlement enterprise, the radio report said. For its part, the Trump administration has thus far indicated only that building in East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods such as Pisgat Ze’ev, Neve Yaakov and Gilo can continue. As regards US support for any settlement expansion outside Jerusalem — be it at isolated settlements or inside the major settlement blocs — “there’s a problem,” the radio report said.
Asked by The Times of Israel about the report, the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment.
Many on the Israeli right had anticipated that Trump would be more supportive of the settlement enterprise than his predecessor Barack Obama, but at a press conference last month with Netanyahu, the new president publicly asked the prime minister to “hold back on settlements a little bit.”
And in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper shortly before Netanyahu’s US visit, Trump said that settlements “don’t help the process.” He added: “Every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”