â€śThe American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years,â€ť the White House said in a statement from press secretary Sean Spicer. â€śWhile we donâ€™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.â€ť
Spicer reiterated that Trump â€śhopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region.â€ť He added that the â€śadministration 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.â€ť
Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to be in Washington on 15 February for what will now be a closely watched meeting for any signs of tension with Trump.
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.