The leaders’ public comments highlighted some of their disagreements, with Trump calling on Israel to “hold back” on settlement building and to show more “flexibility” in negotiations with the Palestinians.
In response to the bill’s passage in the Knesset by a vote of 60-52, a US State Department official told AFP that the Trump administration was “withholding comment” until the legislation is reviewed within Israel.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel rejected the possibility of a Palestinian state Thursday, saying that the settlement movement will walk away from the demolition of Amona heartened by hard numbers and a clear vision of the future.
Pushing an entirely original interpretation of the Torah commandment of the Jubilee, the bishops declared that “during this fiftieth year of occupation we must pray for the liberty of everyone in the Holy Land and practically support all those working to build a just peace.”
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner called the Knesset’s preliminary passing of the legalization bill which would give legal status to settlement outposts “profoundly damaging” to peace efforts in a sharp critique.
“Today, the Israeli Knesset moved from heading toward establishing a Palestinian state to heading toward sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, and to remove any doubt about it—the outpost regulation bill is the tip of the iceberg in applying sovereignty.”
In his final address to the Saban Forum on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that Israel was ultimately to blame for the failure of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians during the Obama administration.