Israel pushes ahead with settlements as Trump takes office

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Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home Party, was pressing the government to back legislation that would annex Maaleh Adumim, a sprawling West Bank settlement just east of Jerusalem. He also urged Netanyahu to abandon his stated position in favor of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Netanyahu, a longtime supporter of the settlements, has nonetheless been cautious about expanding them in the face of strong opposition from the U.S. and other Western allies. With Trump signaling a much softer line toward the settlements, Israeli hard-liners say there is no longer any reason to show restraint.

“For the first time in 50 years, the prime minister can decide: either sovereignty or Palestine,” Bennett wrote on Twitter.

An official in the Jewish Home Party said Netanyahu was urging Bennett to put his proposal on hold. Netanyahu said that he had been asked by Trump administration officials not to take any major action without proper coordination, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal coalition negotiations.