Building of new West Bank settlement begins

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday, beginning a new US effort to revive long-fractured Middle East peace efforts.

"Today, ground works began, as I promised, for the establishment of the new community for the residents of Amona".

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the issue is between the Palestinian leadership and Hamas, an Islamic militant group that Israel refuses to deal with.

A Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank Tuesday before being shot dead, the army said.

Amichai marks the first state-approved settlement in the West Bank since the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo peace accords in 1993.

Those talks in large part collapsed after Israel ignored U.S. pressure and announced the building of thousands of new homes in existing settlement blocs.

Amichai is just part of the problem, of course, with Israel's continued expansion of settlements across the West Bank leaving less and less land for the Palestinian population to ever end up with its own state in.

On Monday the White House announced that Kushner as well as Jason Greenblatt, a top USA national security aide, would meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week. Trump condemned the decision at the time. On the campaign trail, he had vowed to be the most pro-Israel US president ever and suggested settlements were not an obstacle to peace. Still, Netanyahu's announcement of a new settlement on the eve of Kushner's arrival drew a sharp Palestinian rebuke.

According to Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from East Jerusalem in March, "Amona is one of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that was built on private Palestinian land". The settlements are considered illegal under global law, though Israel disputes this.

Talks are in an advanced stage to allow Palestinians making the Muslim hajj pilgrimage to fly from Israel to Saudi Arabia, with a brief layover in Jordan but without having to change planes, Israel's Ynet news website reported, citing an unidentified senior Israeli official. Israel disputes that, citing biblical, historical and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.

  • Leroy Wright