>> Just days after a new US president entered the White House. Israel's prime minister has lifted a ban on construction of new settlements in East Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu saying he intends to allow home building in the West Bank too. Construction on lands that Palestinians seek as part of a future state is seen as a major obstacle to peace talks between the two sides.
Jerusalem's local government has already approved permits for the building of hundreds of new homes. Reuters' Ari Lewis says relations are likely to sink further.>> The peace process with the Palestinians has been frozen since 2014. Now the big question is what will happen in terms of getting both sides together to the negotiating table.
If the Trump administration continues to support Israeli settlement building, it's very difficult to see the Palestinians accepting that.>> The decision came shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. That change is seen as a key driver for Israel's actions.>> Israel expects the Trump administration to be a lot more friendly to it in terms of settlement building.
This is a sea change from what happened before with the administration of Barack Obama. Who was very, very critical every time Israel made an announcement on settlement building.>> America->> During his election campaign, Trump pledged to move the US embassy from Tel Avis to Jerusalem whose status as Israel's capital is contested by the Palestinians.
Netanyahu is set to meet President Trump in Washington in February, after an initial phone conversation that the Israeli leader describes as very warm.