Trump criticises Israeli settlements
- Author: Joey Payne Feb 11, 2017,
Feb 11, 2017, 0:46
Ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington next week, Trump said he's "always had good chemistry" with the Israeli Prime Minister and that Netanyahu "is a good man".
A general view shows the Israeli settlements of Ramot (foreground) and Ramat Shlomo (background) in an area of the occupied West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem, January 22.
Separately, Trump confirmed he was rethinking his stated goal of moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"Many people think that it is impossible", he said.
During the first two weeks of Mr Trump's presidency, there was no comment from the White House as the Israeli government approved the construction of new homes at settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. "I understand Israel and respect Israel", Trump said. "Many smart people close to me have argued that such agreement can't be achieved. But we are examining a number of options".
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 U.S. policy towards Taiwan. I don't want to condemn Israel during my term. "I'm thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens".
Former U.S. diplomats, Palestinians and Arab leaders such as King Abdullah II of Jordan have warned Trump the embassy move could stoke religious passions and spark violence, as Muslims rally to defend what they see as a threat against their holy places in the heart of Jerusalem.
Trump also called on both the Palestinian and Israeli side to "act reasonably". I'm not someone who believes that advancing the settlements is good for peace.
The Israeli measures, as conveyed to global organizations and nations seeking to aid Gaza, include allowing Gazans to enter Israel for employment and the establishment of an industrial zone near the border with the territory, which would employ Palestinians from Gaza exclusively.
Trump is quoted as saying that he is not a person who believes that proceeding with settlements is good for peace.
In addition to the settlement issue, Trump also addressed the deal reached past year between the United States under former president Barack Obama and five other world powers and Iran. I do not want to condemn Israel during my tenure.