The U.S. and Israel signed an agreement Monday to settle a decades-old conflict over the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with the Israeli government agreeing to allow a major Jewish settlement bloc to open its first store and to open a second store, according to a statement from the U.N. and the Israeli prime minister’s office.
The agreement also calls for the two countries to begin negotiations to bring the dispute to a halt.
The deal was reached at the end of the U,S.
presidential election campaign in November, when the U and Israel were locked in an acrimonious debate over the peace process.
The move, if it were to be ratified by the U., would mark a major reversal in American policy, where for decades Israel has been the biggest supporter of a two-state solution, which includes East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
In its statement Monday, the U the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the agreement was signed at an “unprecedented” level, with all sides participating.
Israel had earlier announced it would open a third store in California, a move that prompted the American Jewish community to boycott the state for a year and has prompted protests across the country.
U.S.-Israel relations have been tense since the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel captured the Gaza Strip and expelled Palestinian refugees to the West.
The two countries fought a decades long conflict over a buffer zone along the Golan Heights that was eventually expanded to include East Jerusalem.
The United States and Israel have been locked in a bitter dispute over the status of Jerusalem, a contested city that is home to a Muslim holy site that Muslims want as the location for a future Jewish state.
Israel considers the West bank, east of the city, the capital.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly called for the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, while the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected any such initiative.
Trump had said in the past that he would “never” allow a settlement to be built on the Gordan Heights, though he later backed away from that stance.
In the U-S., the state of New York voted Monday in favor of a resolution that condemned “Israel’s continuing settlement expansion in the West Jerusalem and East Bay areas” and urged Washington to “immediately stop any settlement activity in these areas.”