“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,” the White House said in a statement.
Since the president was sworn in, the Isareli government has announced that it would authorize another 2,500 homes in areas already settled in the West Bank, and then followed that this week with an announcement of 3,000 more. On Wednesday, Netanyahu took it a step further, vowing to build the first new settlement in the West Bank in many years, according to NYT.
But here is the kicker buried deep in the New York Times story and which I haven't seen reported by other media:
The shift in position came hours after Mr. Trump met briefly with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who raced to Washington to appeal to the new president not to forgo Arab concerns over Israeli policy. In particular, Jordan has been concerned about Mr. Trump’s promise to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the city Israelis and Palestinians would divide and each make their capital in most versions of a peace deal.
The king came to Washington with no meeting with Mr. Trump on the schedule, and some administration officials were leery of setting up such a meeting before Mr. Netanyahu’s visit. Instead, the king was hosted for breakfast on Monday by Vice President Mike Pence at his official residence. But in the end, the king was able to talk with Mr. Trump on the sidelines of the national prayer breakfast on Thursday morning.
Is this a case of President Trump being influenced by the last person he talks to?
Let's see what happens in two weeks. Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House on February 15.