WASHINGTON – The Trump administration accepts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rationale for approving one exceptional settlement for evacuees of Amona, an Israeli outpost in the West Bank that was dismantled last month, one senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.Earlier in the day, Israel’s security cabinet approved the construction of a settlement that was promised by Netanyahu to former residents of Amona. Their outpost was evacuated after Israel’s High Court ruled it was an illegal construction. “We would note that the Israeli prime minister made a commitment to the Amona settlers prior to President [Donald] Trump laying out his expectations, and has consistently indicated that he intended to move forward with this plan,” the official said.Construction will take place in Emek Shiloh and will represent the first new settlement approved for construction in the West Bank in two decades.
During his visit to the White House last month, Trump asked Netanyahu to “hold back” on settlement construction – a position the prime minister will respect going forward, US officials say.The president’s special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, has been shuttling around the region in an effort to reboot Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.“Going forward, and as we move into more detailed discussions regarding the possibilities for advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Israeli government has made clear that Israel’s intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes President Trump’s concerns into consideration,” the official said.
Trump tells Israel to "hold back on settlements" during meeting with Netanyahu at White House on Feb. 15, 2017 (credit: REUTERS)