Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, is reportedly set to visit Israel in the coming week.
Greenblatt’s visit will focus on West Bank settlement policy, Channel 2 news reported Wednesday.
The goal of Greenblatt’s visit is reportedly to formulate the Trump administration’s position on settlements, including what the US will accept in terms of where and how much Israel can build. One of the main topics of discussion will be the new settlement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to the former residents of the Amona outpost, who were evicted from their homes last month, the report said.
Both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have recently tried to curb the discussion of settlements, with the understanding that the issue could cause tension with Washington.
A month ago, Netanyahu promised residents of Amona that he would build them the first new West Bank settlement in 25 years, and vowed that construction would begin no later than the end of March.
However, later last month, after a meeting with Trump — during which the president asked him to “hold off” on settlements — Netanyahu reportedly told members of his security cabinet that the government may have to renege on his pledge.
On Tuesday, acting State Department spokesperson Mark Toner referred to Trump’s comment, saying Washington was “in discussions with Israel about how exactly that would look like. It’s under consideration.”
Since Trump’s election, some Likud and Jewish Home MKs have ramped up calls for the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim and other settlements, and on Sunday, Likud MK Miki Zohar called for full Israeli annexation of the West Bank.
A day later, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he had received a direct message from the US saying that “Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank means an immediate crisis with the new administration.”
Liberman is currently in the US for talks with administration officials.