By Pamela Engel - Business Insider
President Donald Trump reportedly issued a surprise warning to
Israel on Thursday to stop announcing settlements that
"undermine" his administration's efforts to create peace in the
Middle East. A White House official
told The Jerusalem Post that Trump is committed to a
two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and that the
White House was surprised by Israel's announcement
of thousands of new settlement housing units in the
"As President Trump has made clear, he is very interested in
reaching a deal that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
and is currently exploring the best means of making progress
toward that goal," the official reportedly said. "With that in
mind, we urge all parties to refrain from taking unilateral
actions that could undermine our ability to make progress,
including settlement announcements. The administration needs
to have the chance to fully consult with all parties on the way
forward." The official, according to the report, also elaborated on the
two-state solution Trump envisions. "The United States remains committed to advancing a comprehensive
final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that
results in two states living side-by-side in peace and security,"
the official told the newspaper.
The White House said in a later statement that it had "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," press secretary Sean
Spicer said in a statement. "As the President has expressed many
times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East
Trump was a staunch advocate of Israel during his campaign for
president. In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee, Trump said he is a "true friend" of Israel and
said there is "no daylight between America and our most reliable
ally the state of Israel."
Trump is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu at the White House on February 15.