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LONDON — Theresa May will tell Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that continued settlements on the West Bank "undermines trust," when he visits the UK on Monday.

"I would expect the prime minister to set out the government's position which is that we think the continued increase in settlement activity undermines trust," her spokesperson said on Thursday.

"It undermines trust in the process. You want to be creating an environment where you can have a dialogue between the Palestinians and the Israelis, recognising Israel's right to be free and safe from terrorism and the Palestinian's right to have a state that is viable."

A Downing Street source said that the PM would also spell out her disagreements with Netanyahu on a range of other issues, including Syria and the nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu has repeatedly snubbed May over her position on the Middle East peace process.He reportedly refused to meet May when the two both attended the recent World Economic Forum in Davos and also snubbed her when she visited Israel as the Home Secretary.

May's determination to maintain a tough line with the Israeli PM follows the wave of criticism she received for failing to do the same during her visit to meet US President Donald Trump. May faced a series of questions on Wednesday about when she first heard about Trump's controversial refugee and travel ban, which was announced shortly after her meeting with him.

Trump and Netanyahu by contrast are strong supporters of each other. Last month the Israeli PM praised Trump's planned new border wall, tweeting that: "President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. I stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea."

May' relationship with Netanyahu is likely to be much more distant. On Wednesday, Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood also issued a statement condemning the West Bank settlements.

"The announcement of further settlement units in the West Bank is part of a growing trend which we condemn," he said.

"We have consistently been clear that settlements are illegal under international law, and not conducive to peace. This spike in settlement activity undermines trust and makes a two-state solution — with an Israel that is safe from terrorism and a Palestinian state that is viable and sovereign — much harder to achieve."

|Business Insider

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