US says Israeli settlements ‘may not be helpful’

Source: Aljazeera

The Trump administration said on Thursday that Israel’s building of new settlements and expansion of existing ones in the occupied territories may not help to achieve peace with Palestinians, adopting a more measured tone than previous pro-Israel announcements.

In a statement issued two weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to visit US President Donald Trump, the White House said the administration “has not taken an official position on settlement activity”.

“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,” the statement said.

Trump has signalled he could be more accommodating toward settlement projects than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

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