Blowback on Netanyahu Promise to Keep Yehudah and Shomron

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

A senior White House official has played down Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s promise on Monday never to dismantle Israeli communities in Yehudah and Shomron.

“It is no secret what each side’s position is on this issue,” the official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

“Our focus is on continuing our conversations with both parties and regional leaders to work toward facilitating a deal that factors in all substantive issues.”

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, denounced Netanyahu’s comments and urged the U.S. to intervene.

“This is an Israeli message to the U.S. administration, which sought through an important tour in the area to do something in order to rescue the peace process,” he said. “We call upon the U.S. administration to deal with these provocations,” which he said hinder U.S. peace efforts and are “an attempt to return things to square one.”