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Israeli settlements complicate the task of making peace

12 February 2018

US President Donald Trump has said Israel's illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories have "complicated" the so-called peace process and urged "care" over the issue.

The Palestinians saw Trump's announcement as unfairly taking sides with Israel.

Donald Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that voted against Washington's move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The US leader's latest comments came in an interview published on Sunday with the conservative newspaper Yisrael Hayom. "So we are just going to have to see what happens", Trump was quoted as saying.

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"Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace, they are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace", the president said.

Asked whether the settlements will be part of the peace plan, Trump replied, "We will be talking about settlements".

"The settlements complicate on a different level - and it's always complicated - in making peace, so Israel needs to act with caution on the topic of settlements", Trump said. The settlements are considered illegal under global law, though Israel disputes this.

"I wanted to make it clear that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel", he told the newspaper. Morales was honored during the meal, attended by about 200 people, for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. And I think it was a very important point.

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Israel claims the whole of the city as its capital but the Palestinians want East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

He told WAFA that Abbas' visit to Russian Federation comes amid extremely complicated circumstances where the region is affected by major events and escalating developments as a result to the USA decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer the embassy to it.

Trump threatened to cut additional aid to Palestinians last month after the USA announced it was withholding $65 million in aid to the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees.

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Israeli settlements complicate the task of making peace