A day after being inaugurated as U.S. President, Donald Trump called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and invited him to come to the White House in February.
Following the phone call, Netanyahu told his security cabinet that he will lift all restrictions on settlement construction in East Jerusalem, according to two members of the cabinet who spoke with Israeli media after the meeting.
In addition to allowing unfettered settlement construction in East Jerusalem, the Israeli Prime Minister also told his cabinet that he will rapidly increase land takeovers and displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank as well in order to annex additional land for Israel.
According to a statement from the White House, Trump and Netanyahu discussed the priorities of the new U.S. administration, which, according to Trump, will be “countering the Islamic State and other radical Islamic terrorist groups”.
Trump also stated that he and Netanyahu agreed to consult closely on issues in the region and will focus on the alleged “threats posed by Iran”.
The conversation between the two leaders came just after Donald Trump swore in his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a top White House advisor. Kushner had to receive a special approval from the Justice Department to be allowed to serve in the administration, as the selection of a President’s son-in-law would normally violate laws against nepotism. In this case, however, an exception was made.
Article 5 of the U.S. Code forbids federal officials, including the President, from appointing or employing relatives.
Kushner is known for his zealous support of Israeli policies, including the blatantly illegal takeovers of Palestinian land through military force and the transfer of Israeli civilians onto land seized by military force from the Palestinian people in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
All Israeli colonial settlements are considered illegal under international law, as they involve the transfer of civilian populations onto land seized and occupied by military force. Israel has transferred more than 400,000 civilians into such settlements over the past 50 years, mainly in the two decades since the “Oslo Accord” peace deal was signed in 1993.