>> Benjamin Netanyahu's plans may not be helpful in achieving peace with Palestinians. The verdict from the White House on the Israeli Prime Minister's intention to expand settlements in the West Bank, after a tumultuous week of protests and evictions.>>
> The Jerusalem Post calling the statement surprising.
While the New York Times says it's a startling shift. But Reuters Bureau Chief, Luke Baker, says it's not quite a red light.>> So in lots of ways, the White House statement has been interpreted as a kind of, if you like, a wrap on the knuckles for Benjamin Netanyahu.
But there's another way of looking at it. In lots of ways, in fact, it is softer than certainly the policy pursued under the Obama administration. And perhaps even softer than, the policy pursued by his predecessor George Bush. It doesn't say that Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace.
And it doesn't say that Israel shouldn't go on building in existing settlement areas. And those are the issues that Israeli officials have latched on to, and see this actually as very positive.>> It comes two weeks before Netanyahu and Trump are planned to meet in Washington face to face.
This after a mutually admiring online relationship since the inauguration.>> Is actually largely positive for Israel, and shows that when Netanyahu goes to Washington to visit Trump on February 15th, they should be able to continue their sort of positive relations that we've seen them having, sort of remotely if you like, over the last couple of weeks.
And really push ahead with the relationship, we were kind of expecting them to have. That's my sense.>> Netanyahu's plans include, 6,000 additional homes in the West Bank. A blueprint that's drawing condemnation from Palestinians and European governments. While most countries oppose the settlement building, Israel maintains that it holds historical and political links to the land.