Washington exerts pressure on Israel to hold back on excessive settlements construction

Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to promote his position with regard to advancing his government’s construction policy on what international law defines as ‘disputed lands’, yet new reports indicate a change, in which Jerusalem is expected to hold back its construction approach due to growing pressure from Washington. According to senior Israeli sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Trump administration issued a warning to Prime Minister Netanyahu to hold back on excessive building on lands the Palestinians demand for a future state, a message Netanyahu relayed to the leadership of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, during a meeting in which representatives presented the prime minister with a list of demands for improving infrastructure in settlements and seeking approval for 10,000 new housing units in the area. Netanyahu reportedly stressed that the Trump administration was gearing up to announce plans to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, thus forcing Israel to act with responsibility and discretion. Netanyahu emphasized that his government is not interested in quarreling with a friendly US Administration, thus would heed the demands by Washington to avoid launching new construction programs in the West Bank on large scales. A settler official who attended the meeting revealed that participants left the meeting “extremely concerned” that Netanyahu was effectively preparing the ground for Trump’s political program which will require that Israel relinquish territory in the West Bank to the Palestinians and that the Israeli leader had already reconciled himself with such an eventuality.