Emboldened by Trump Swearing-in Israel Announces Building 2,500 Settler Homes
Story Code : 603356
The defiant move, in opposition to united Nation's recent resolution against Tel Aviv's illegal settlements, comes as hardliner Israeli politicians expect Trump to be far more cooperative on the matter.
The announcement of 2500 new settlements houses in occupied Palestinian lands came two days after the country accepted building permits for more than 500 settler homes in occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Being the largest in years, the provocative massive program marks a comprehensive rejection of December’s UN security council resolution, which described settlement building as a “flagrant violation” of international law and an obstacle to peace.
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it deals a new blow to attempts to bring peace to the region and will promote extremism.
Nabil Abu Rdeneh said the decision "disregards" international opposition to the settlements and is calling on the international community to take a "real and serious position" against Israel.
Trump spoke by phone on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday, the new president's chief spokesman refrained from stating a position on the settlement announcement but said the two leaders would discuss settlement building when they meet in Washington next month.
Asked whether Trump supports the latest settlement announcement, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters: "Israel continues to be a huge ally of the United States. He wants to grow closer with Israel." Pressed again on the issue, he said: "We'll have a conversation with the prime minister."
The muted response from the Trump White House, which has promised an approach more aligned with Israel's government, was a clear departure from Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, whose aides routinely criticized settlement construction plans.