Report: U.S., Israel Agree on New Housing for Amona Evictees

YERUSHALAYIM -
General view of the Shomron community of Ariel. (Flash90)

Despite reports Friday that no final decisions had been made regarding the extent of Israeli building in Yehudah and Shomron in talks between Israeli teams and the new U.S. administration, a Channel Two report Motzoei Shabbos said that a deal had actually been worked out that accommodates both Israel’s desire to expand housing in Yehudah and Shomron and the Trump administration’s desire that Israel “curb” building.

According to the report, the U.S. will accept and accommodate the expansion of housing announced in recent weeks, which includes the construction of thousands of housing units throughout Yehudah and Shomron. In addition, the administration will allow Israel to build a new settlement for evicted residents of Amona. After this initial spurt of construction, Israel will be restricted to building within the settlement blocs.

The office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not confirmed this report. The final document on the deal has yet to be approved by either side. According to the report, coalition members who have been privy to the document – especially Jewish Home – have expressed dismay that construction will be limited to the settlement blocs.

In a statement Thursday night, the White House said that no conclusions had been reached between Israel and the United States after talks between the two sides on the scope of Israeli settlement activity. The statement came after an American team lead by U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt discussed the matter with Israeli officials in Washington after Greenblatt visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority in recent days.

The U.S. said that it had “concerns” about Israeli policy, but that the discussions would continue. “The United States delegation reiterated President Trump’s concerns regarding settlement activity in the context of moving towards a peace agreement,” according to a joint statement released by the White House. “The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel’s intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration. The talks were serious and constructive, and they are ongoing,” it added.