Netanyahu pledges to limit Israeli settlement expansion as gesture to Trump

(JTA) – Israel will curb settlement construction as a gesture to U.S. President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his top ministers.

In a security cabinet meeting Thursday night, Netanyahu said any future construction would be limited to existing settlement boundaries or adjacent to them. Israel will also prevent the construction of any new illegal outposts, he said.

“This is a very friendly administration and we need to be considerate of the president’s requests,” Netanyahu told the security cabinet, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Also Thursday, the security cabinet approved the first new settlement in decades for families evicted from the razed West Bank outpost of Amona. The newly announced limits will not apply to that settlement, which Netanyahu promised Amona residents ahead of their forced evacuation in February.

The Prime Minister’s Office also announced the approval of tenders for some 2,000 new settlement homes. The planned construction was announced in January.

When Netanyahu visited the White house in February, Trump said that he would like to see Israel “hold back on settlements a little bit.” Earlier in the month, Trump said settlement expansion “may not be helpful” in achieving peace.

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