'We set policy for ourselves'

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon responds to the recent White House suggestion that Judea/Samaria construction 'may not' help peace.

Tal Polon,

Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Yoni Kempinski

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon responded this morning in an interview with Kol Yisrael to the White House’s recent suggestion that construction in Judea and Samaria “may not be helpful” in achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Danon dismissed the suggestion that the Trump administration was making a "U-turn" in its policy regarding construction in Judea and Samaria. “The qualitative significance of the statement is that it says, ‘wait for the meeting in two weeks between President Trump and the Prime Minister, and then we’ll set our policy,'” he said.

Danon also noted that, “reading between the lines,” the White House statement showed a drastic break in US policy from the stance of the Obama administration regarding building in Judea and Samaria, noting that a statement like “we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace” simply did not exist in the vocabulary of the Obama administration - which was guided by the principle of ‘not one more brick’ in Judea and Samaria.

Nevertheless, Danon emphasized that, at the end of the day, Israel is in charge of setting policy for itself.

“So it was and so it will be. We are a sovereign nation. There’s not going to be full agreement with the US in the coming four years on every single matter, but there is the matter of communications and the conveying of messages, and it seems to me that it will be a much better period than what we saw in the past eight years,” he concluded.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that “the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful" in achieving peace.

“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. 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,” Spicer said in a statement.

“As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. 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,” he added.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman had announced the construction of 3,000 new homes in Judea and Samaria, in addition to the 2,500 units approved last week.




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