Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will fulfill his promise to build a new settlement in the occupied West Bank for the first time in more than 20 years.
Netanyahu made the announcement on Thursday hours before meeting with Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump's special envoy for the Middle East
He said the new settlement will be built to replace Amona outpost, which was razed last month after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the structures built on privately owned Palestinian land had to be removed.
"To the settlers of Amona, I repeat, I gave you a commitment to build a new settlement and I will honor my commitment," Netanyahu said.
The Israeli premier further expressed hope that an agreement could be reached with Washington on future Israeli settlements.
"We are in talks with the White House and our intention is to reach an agreed policy for building in settlements which is agreeable to us - not only to the Americans," Netanyahu said.
The meeting between Greenblatt and Netanyahu was their second this week. The US envoy is on his first visit to the Middle East and has already sat down with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Jason Greenblatt (L), US President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy, meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem al-Quds on March 13, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Emboldened by the Trump administration’s support, the Tel Aviv regime has given the go-ahead to the construction of many settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands.
Israel’s settlement expansion defies the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 adopted in December 2016 that condemned the settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.
The former US government declined to veto the resolution, infuriating Israeli officials.
Over half a million Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The continued expansion of Israeli settlements is one of the major obstacles to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.