According to the mainstream media, the New York Times respectively, the White House warned Israel to stop announcing new settlements, as they’re unilateral and undermining of President Trump’s goal of achieving peace in the Middle East.
The same issue is pedaled by the Jerusalem Post and other liberal mainstream media mouthpieces. According to their fake news narrative, this marks a first for President Trump’s administration with regard to approving the famous two-state solution which would presumably end the perpetual Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to the New York Times, a White House official told them that Donald Trump was not consulted about Israel’s latest (and unprecedented) 5500 new settlement housing units in the West Bank.
However, the whole story is a blatant case of fake news, in good mainstream media tradition. This is the statement from the White House on Thursday:
The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.
As you can see, there’s no warning for Israel to stop new settlements. The New York Times chose to interpret the words “may not be helpful” to serve their propagandist anti-Trump agenda for pedaling their own version of fake news, i.e. that President Trump is somehow justifying Barack Obama’s betrayal of Israel, and I am talking about Obama’s last month in office, when the US refused to veto UN’s Security Council resolution with regard to Israeli settlements.
Here’s the New York Time line:
In the most startling shift, the White House issued an unexpected statement appealing to the Israeli government not to expand the construction of Jewish settlements beyond their current borders in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Such expansion, it said, “may not be helpful in achieving” the goal of peace.
However, if you know a thing or two about the area’s geopolitics, you’ll realize that the White House statement basically accepts all existing settlements tacitly.
It was Obama who insisted on a total settlement freeze, including Israel expansion within the already existing settlements and later allowing for the UN Security Council to accuse Israel of flagrantly violating the international law.
Eugene Kontorovich who is a legal scholar explains White House’s statement in layman’s terms:
The White House Press Secretary’s statement about settlement building is a huge change of policy, in which the U.S. broadly accepts all building within settlements, including those settlements outside of “blocs.” This is huge.
In the statement, the White House says the building of entirely “new settlements” is not great (but not sharply criticized). On the other hand, building “within existing settlement lines,” ie municipal boundaries, is totally OK. Since all building for 20 years has been within existing lines, and all planned building is within existing lines, this is as big an authorization as it gets.
This is such a big deal, that the press is trying to spin it as a limitation on settlement activity, whereas it is a broad and historic green light. It can no longer be said that the US opposes settlement building.