'Trump never demanded Israel limit settlement construction'

Senior government official says reports claiming Trump envoy Greenblatt asked Netanyahu to restrict 'settlement' construction are false.

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Nitsan Keidar,

Netanyahu meets with WH envoy Greenblatt
Netanyahu meets with WH envoy Greenblatt
US Embassy in Tel Aviv

A senior government official claimed on Thursday that reports circulating regarding alleged demands made by the Trump administration of Israel are false.

The left-leaning Haaretz daily reported Wednesday night that according to an unnamed official privy to the details of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meetings with special White House envoy Jason Greenblatt speaking on condition of anonymity, the Trump administration had called on Israel to freeze all construction in Judea and Samaria outside of the major “settlement blocs”.

According to the source, the Trump administration would tacitly accept construction in eastern Jerusalem and the 'settlement blocs' likely to be retained by Israel even if a Palestinian Arab state was established.

But a senior government official has rejected those claims, stating that no such demands were made.

“The reports regarding Jason Greenblatt’s visit to Israel and the American demands, apparently towards Israel vis-à-vis the settlements, are incorrect.”

Greenblatt visited Israel last week for an official fact-finding mission on behalf of the Trump administration. Greenblatt met with Netanyahu twice, for talks lasting five and three hours each. The White House special envoy also met with President Reuven Rivlin and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas. He aslo met with leaders of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff Yigal Horowitz led an Israeli delegation to Washington to continue talks with the Trump administration in an effort to reach an understanding regarding Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria.

Horowitz is scheduled to update Netanyahu on the mission later on Thursday.