Trump: More Israeli settlements may not help achieve peace

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference at the Verizon Center, on Monday, March 21, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference at the Verizon Center, on Monday, March 21, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House says new Israeli settlements or the expansion of existing ones beyond their current borders may not help achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Spokesman Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, although it has yet to take an official position on settlement construction.

Spicer says Trump looks forward to continuing to discuss the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits the White House on Feb. 15.

In Israel on Thursday, Netanyahu vowed to establish the first new West Bank settlement in more than two decades “as soon as possible.”

Trump has signaled a softer line toward settlements, which most of the international community views as illegal.

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