Israel, White House at odds over settlements: Netanyahu

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JERUSALEM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that his country and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump were at odds over the issue of Israeli settlement construction, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Tuesday.

“Things are not as simple as you think,” Netanyahu reportedly said on Monday at a closed-door meeting of members of his right-wing Likud party.

“There are no understandings [between Israel and the U.S. administration]regarding construction of West Bank settlements,” he was quoted as saying.

“We will develop a mechanism for reaching understandings, but on this specific issue there is no agreement,” he reportedly said.

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu described the Trump presidency as a “historic opportunity” for Israel, but also stressed that Israel should recognize the “limits” of this opportunity.

“There is no alternative to Israeli security control over the [territory]west of the Jordan River — with or without an agreement with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu reportedly said at the meeting.

“A sort of agreement could be reached with the Palestinians if they recognize Israel and renounce the right of return [to their ancestral homes in historical Palestine],” the prime minister was quoted as saying.

Netanyahu met the U.S. president in Washington on Feb. 15.

According to international law, all lands seized by Israel in 1967 are considered “occupied territories” and Israeli settlement on the land is considered illegal.

U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel collapsed in 2014 over the latter’s refusal to stop building Jewish-only settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Anadolu Agency

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