Trump Administration Refuses Comment on Outpost Bill

YERUSHALAYIM -

The U.S. State Department has refused to comment on proposed legislation in the Knesset to legalize 66 outposts in Yehudah and Shomron.

When asked by a Times of Israel reporter for the administration’s position on the bill, a State Department spokesperson replied: “Our Near East office advises that since this is about Israeli legislation, they refer you to the Government of Israel.” A White House official also declined to comment.

For all of his support for Israel, including the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Yerushalayim, recognizing it as Israel’s capital, President Donald Trump has nevertheless voiced a certain opposition to an expanded Israeli presence in Yehudah and Shomron.

In his first public appearance with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in February 2017, he asked the latter to “hold back on settlements for a bit.”

In a comment to Yisrael Hayom in February, Trump said that “the settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements.”

In light of that, it would not have been surprising if Trump had at least expressed reservations about the Israeli move. Yet, the administration remains silent.