The Latest: Israeli leader gets White House invitation

AP News
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Posted: Jan 22, 2017 4:06 PM
The Latest: Israeli leader gets White House invitation

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on Israeli plans in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the Trump era (all times local):

11 p.m.

Israel's prime minister says he has held a "warm conversation" with President Donald Trump and has been invited to the White House in February.

In a statement, Benjamin Netanyahu's office said he told Trump in a phone call Sunday that he hopes to forge a "common vision to advance peace and security in the region."

He said the discussion included talks about the international nuclear deal with Iran, the peace process with the Palestinians and other issues.

It said a date for next month's visit will be finalized in the coming days.

6:15 p.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office says his Security Cabinet has unanimously agreed to postpone a vote on a proposal to annex a major West Bank settlement.

The pro-settler Jewish Home Party has been pushing the government to annex the Maaleh Adumim settlement, near Jerusalem. The party's leader, Naftali Bennett, believes the Trump administration will be friendly to the settlement movement, and that Israel should therefore drop the idea of creating a Palestinian state and instead annex West Bank settlements.

Netanyahu's office said his Security Cabinet, which includes Bennett, had agreed to postpone a vote on the annexation proposal until after an expected meeting between Netanyahu and Trump next month. Bennett's party had claimed that Netanyahu sought the delay, citing pressure from Trump.

Netanyahu and Trump were expected to speak on the phone later Sunday.

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12:30 p.m.

The Jerusalem municipality is pushing forward with 566 new housing units for Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem.

The building plans were put on hold in the final months of President Barack Obama's administration and were announced Sunday following the inauguration of Donald Trump. It wasn't immediately clear whether the project needs further approvals or when construction would begin.

Israel clashed frequently with Obama over construction in areas it conquered in the 1967 Mideast war. Most of the world considers settlements illegal or illegitimate.

But Israel's hard-line government has high expectations for Trump, who has signaled he will take a far kinder approach to them.

Trump's appointed ambassador to Israel has close ties to Jewish West Bank settlements as does the foundation run by the family of Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.