After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the ministerial vote on the Greater Jerusalem bill was delayed in order to coordinate the issue with Washington, a senior White House official clarified that the US believes that the bill harms the possibility of resuming the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Signs to settlements

Signs to settlements Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

A senior Washington official confirmed Sunday that the US requested that the Greater Jerusalem bill not be put to a vote during the Sunday Ministerial Committee for Legislation meeting. “It’s fair to say that the US is discouraging actions that it believes will unduly distract the principals from focusing on the advancement of peace negotiations,” the official told The Times of Israel. “The Jerusalem expansion bill was considered by the administration to be one of those actions.”

During today’s meeting of Likud ministers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the Trump administration asked him about the bill. “They wanted to understand the essence of the bill,” he said. “As we have coordinated with them up until now, it’s worthwhile to [continue to] talk and coordinate with them. We are working to advance and develop the settlement enterprise and not to promote other considerations.”

According to the bill, which Likud Minister Yisrael Katz has been advancing since 2014, the number of settlements under the jurisdiction of Jerusalem’s municipality would increase. The bill is based on similar laws that exist in various places throughout the world such as London and Paris. The bill was supposed to be put to a vote Sunday but at the last minute, it was removed from the committee’s agenda.

Earlier today, Katz and MK Yoav Kish (Likud) stated, “This is a historic law that will ensure the Jewish majority in Jerusalem.”