White House opposes new Israeli settlements

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WASHINGTON: (APP) The White House said Thursday that building new Israeli settlements or expanding existing ones "may not be helpful" in securing Middle East peace.

"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," said spokesman Sean Spicer.

The statement is a break from Trump's previously full-throated defense of Israeli settlement building.

Since Trump came to office Israel has approved a slew of new construction in existing settlements, the type of act that critics say risks making a two-state solution impossible.

Israel recently unveiled plans for 3,000 new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, the fourth such announcement in the less than two weeks since Trump took office.

"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," Spicer said.

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