Trump will raise settlements issue with Netanyahu

Tracy FergusonJan 29, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called President Trump's proposed border wall a "great idea" for preventing illegal immigration.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman told AFP the approvals by a city planning committee were among those held up due to pressure from former USA president Barack Obama's administration.

Israeli authorities have given the final approval to the building of 153 settler homes in the occupied East Jerusalem and plan to provide permits for thousands more in the upcoming months, Jerusalem's deputy mayor said.

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"Indeed, the views of the worldwide community on settlements couldn't be clearer - they are comprehensively set out in UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and in the declaration of the Paris Conference at which I participated earlier this month".

A defiant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on Friday questioned by the police for the third time as a "possible criminal suspect" in a graft case for allegedly accepting valuable gifts from business figures and trying to trade favours with an Israeli newspaper.

He called "for an end to all settlement construction, and the reversal of these announcements". The outcry came following the recent anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations.

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Most part of the 2,500 buildings approved on Tuesday are to be set up in the large settlement areas in the city of Ariel as well as in the settlement of Givat Ze'ev, located north of Jerusalem. The two leaders agreed to "continue to closely consult on a range of regional issues, including the threat allegedly posed by Iran", the statement published by the White House said, adding that Trump "affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel's security".

Donald Trump said the Obama administration's decision to abstain in a UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements "was bad".

Wednesday's meeting took place soon after former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who strongly opposes the settlements resolution, was sworn in as US ambassador to the United Nations and a day after the Trump administration declined to take a position on Israel's latest expansion plan, breaking with past White House criticism of such construction but leaving its own policy unclear.

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