Israel Approves First Totally New Jewish Settlement in 25 Years
Israel's security cabinet has approved the country's first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank in 25 years, while it holds talks with the U.S. on future activity.
Jewish homes built in the West Bank since 1992 were expansions of previously built settlements. The construction approved Thursday near Shilo will be the first completely new one.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised new homes for the hundreds of settlers forced to abandon the Amona settlement, which the Supreme Court declared was illegally built on Palestinian land. It was destroyed.
The new settlement will be built close to the former Amona site in the West Bank on land the Palestinians want as part of a future state.
Palestinians regard ongoing Jewish settlement activity as the major impediment to peace.
Much of the United Nations regards Jewish settlements as illegal. But the Trump White House has not followed the former Obama administration in quickly condemning the Israeli policy.
"While the existence of settlements is not in itself an impediment to peace, further unrestrained activity does not help advance peace," a White House official said Thursday.
The official said the White House welcomes Israel's stated intent to consider President Trump's concerns when it adopts a policy on settlement activity. Israeli and U.S. officials have been holding talks on setting guidelines for new settlements.
White House Defends Plan to Eliminate Obama-Era Internet Privacy Rules
The White House on Thursday defended a bill recently passed by Congress to repeal Obama-era Internet privacy protections, saying the move is meant to create a fair playing field for telecommunication companies.
White House Spokesman Sean Spicer, during a Thursday press briefing, reiterated President Donald Trump’s support for the plan to repeal a rule forbidding Internet service providers from collecting personal data on users.
Spicer said the Obama administration’s rules reclassified Internet service providers as common carriers, similar to hotels and other retail stores, treating them unfairly compared to edge providers, like Google and Facebook.
Repealing the rules, he said, will “allow service providers to be treated fairly, and consumer protection and privacy concerns to be reviewed on a level playing field.”
Critics of the repeal bill say it could put the Internet browsing histories of private citizens up for sale to the highest bidder.
Spicer called the rules “federal overreach” instituted by “bureaucrats in Washington to take the interests of one group of companies over the interests of others, picking winners and losers.”
He said Trump has signed more legislation “ending job killing rules and regulations” already during his tenure than all former presidents combined. “[Trump] will continue to fight Washington red tape that stifles American innovation, job creation and economic growth,” Spicer said.