News Worms
News Worms

Abu Rudeineh: New settlement project aims to thwart Trump's efforts

US officials are calling the trip part of an effort to keep the conversation going rather than the launching of a new phase in the peace process, saying that Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the president's special representative for global negotiations, are likely to return often.

"Today work began in the field, as I promised, to establish a new community for the Amona settlers", Mr Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the issue is between the Palestinian leadership and Hamas, an Islamic militant group that Israel refuses to deal with.

By highlighting the earth-moving work - no date has been announced for actual housing construction - Netanyahu appeared to suggest he believed he had little to fear from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration over settlement building that has drawn Palestinian and global condemnation.

A Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank Tuesday before being shot dead, the army said.

Jewish settlements in the West Bank are regarded as illegal under worldwide law and are considered one of the main obstacles to a two-state solution, taking land claimed by Palestinians for a future state.

It is the first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank in some 25 years.

Peace Now said Monday that new figures from the Israeli government showed a 70 percent rise in settlement construction over the past year. Jason Greenblatt, Trump's worldwide envoy, will arrive on Monday.

Nickolay Mladenov stressed that the United Nations considers settlement activities illegal under global law.

This comes as US President Donald Trump dispatched two of his top aides to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week in an effort to jump start Israeli- Palestinian negotiations - a "top priority" for his administration, one White House official said on Monday.

Settlements have turned the land of a future Palestinian state into a patchwork marked by Jewish-only roads, security barriers and military checkpoints.

Greenblatt is to be joined by Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday.

Press secretary Sean Spicer said Mr Kushner and Mr Greenblatt will hear from Mr Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and other senior officials during the trip. Israel disputes that, citing biblical, historical and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.


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