A top adviser to US president-elect Donald Trump has said that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories should not be condemned and do not pose an "obstacle to peace".
Speaking to Israeli Army Radio, Jason Greenblatt said: "Mr. Trump does not view the settlements as being an obstacle for peace.
"The two sides are going to have to decide how to deal with that region, but it's certainly not Mr. Trump's view that settlement activity should be condemned and that it is an obstacle to peace. It is not the obstacle to peace."
Greenblatt, a chief legal adviser and executive vice president at the Trump Organisation, is Trump's chief adviser on Israel.
The position is a stark reversal of long standing US opposition to the Israeli settlements programme, which has been condemned as illegal by the United Nations.
The announcements came as Israeli Science Minister Ofir Akunis called for a new wave of settlement building in the wake of Trump's shock presidential victory.
"We need to think how we move forward now when the administration in Washington, the Trump administration and his advisers, are saying that there is no place for a Palestinian state", he told Army Radio.
Trump voiced strong support for Israel on the campaign trail, with adviser David Friedman telling the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday (9 November) that the president-elect would follow through with a pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Congress has long called for the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem, and in 1995 approved the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandated that this must be done by 31 May, 1999.
Both Palestine and Israel view the city as their capital, and for security reasons US presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama vetoed the measure.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump's victory, saying the former reality star was a "true friend of Israel". Trump has invited Netanyahu, whose relations with outgoing president Barack Obama were chilly, to the US.
Israeli civilians have built settlements in territory in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights occupied in the 1967 Six Day War. Settlement building has been criticised as an obstacle to the peace process with the Palestinians by organisations including the UN and EU.