A discussion on such a sensitive and politically-loaded issue in the White House is extremely irregular and shows to what extent relations between the Obama administration and Netanyahu government have deteriorated. In recent years European states have imposed increasing sanctions against the construction in the settlements, while the United States has made do with denunciations.Yes, it's always about "settlements". The Hill says:
An Israeli official who was briefed by the Americans on the issue said the administration started discussing it following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last meeting in the White House in early October and the public confrontation over the settlements that occurred later.
While Earnest reaffirmed the strong bond between the two nations, he called the settlements “illegitimate” and said the U.S. was deeply concerned about the settlement activity.This is atrocious, of course. Fortunately, Congress is against this, and is demanding explanations:
But he refused to go any further, saying he was “not willing to talk about” backroom discussions.[...]
On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also refused to answer questions about the internal conversations at the White House and Foggy Bottom.
We urge you and your administration to clarify these reports immediately,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) and nearly 50 other House lawmakers wrote Friday afternoon, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.It should be no surprise an administration like this is also trying to give illegal immigrants a free pass back in the USA.
“Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome,” they state. “Such reports send a clear message to our friends and enemies alike that such alliances with the United States government can no longer be unquestionably trusted.” [...]
“At a time when you have requested an additional seven months to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, any attempts to undermine the U.S.’s support of Israel will only further diminish the administration’s ability to get congressional support for any potential agreement with Iran,” the lawmakers wrote.