The White House warned the Israeli government Thursday to stop announcing plans to build new settlements in the occupied West Bank, appearing to open a breach in the extraordinarily warm relationship between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s office announced Wednesday that for the first time in two decades, Israel planned to build 3,000 new settlement homes in the disputed territory, which it has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War. Thursday, the White House issued a brief statement that the new administration has not taken an official position on settlements in the West Bank but adding that “the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful” in achieving peace. The statement was issued after The Jerusalem Post reported that the administration had sent Netanyahu a message complaining that announcements like the one the government made Wednesday could “undermine” the peace process. NBC News has not confirmed that report.