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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump chat as White House senior advisor Jared Kushner is seen in between them, during their meeting at the King David hotel in Jerusalem May 22, 2017

    Trump Urges Israel to 'Be Very Careful' With Building Settlements in West Bank

    © REUTERS / Kobi Gideon/Courtesy of Government Press Office
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    MOSCOW(Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump has called on Israel to "be very careful" with building settlements in West Bank as this issue complicates the opportunity to continue the peace process.

    "The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements," Trump told Israel Hayom newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

    Trump added that the issue of settlements will be discussed, when asked whether this issue would become a part of the US plan to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    The US president, however, expressed doubts that Palestine or Israel are seeking to reach peace at the current moment.

    READ MORE: Israel to Build Settlement in West Bank in Response to Rabbi Murder — Netanyahu

    "Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace… I am right now interested in the Palestinians and Israel. I don't know frankly if we are going to even have talks, we will see what happens, but I think it is very foolish for the Palestinians and I also think it would be very foolish for the Israelis if they don't make a deal. It's our only opportunity and it will never happen after this," Trump stressed.

    In December, Israel’s cabinet reportedly approved funding worth some 40 million shekels ($11 million) for the West Bank settlements.

    Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements on the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.

    The US authorities have stated on numerous occasions that Washington has been preparing a "deal of the century" that will ensure a comprehensive regional peace process and will put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation. Nevertheless, the details of the plan remain unclear.

    READ MORE: Israel Plan for New Settlements in E. Jerusalem Undermines 2-State Solution

    Both during his presidential campaign and after becoming president, Trump promised to take steps toward settling the conflict between Israel and Palestine. During his trip to the Middle East in May 2017, the US president told the Israeli and Palestinian leaders that they should make a compromise in order to achieve peace.

    Trump also ordered his senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt to focus on the Middle East peace process. The two officials have made numerous trips to the region and held talks with local officials, but have not revealed the details of their proposals on the issue.


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