Hillary Clinton has criticised Israel over plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Arab East Jerusalem. After meeting Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, the US Secretary of State said a plan to tear down 80 properties was “unhelpful”. She said Washington would take up the issue with Israel. Clinton also gave backing to the Palestinian Authority, and plans for a Palestinian state.
Clinton said: “President Abbas is offering the Palestinian people the chance finally to fulfill the aspirations to be free, independent, prosperous and peaceful, flourishing in a state of your own. And the only way to achieve that goal is through negotiations. So all who believe in this comprehensive peace, we urge you to work with the Palestinian Authority, and with us, because we are determined to move forward.” Clinton’s visit comes as the Hamas group in Gaza tries to recover from Israel’s 22-day offensive in December. Israel is also in political transition, with right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu trying to assemble a government. He appears to be putting himself on a collision course with Washington by opposing the creation of a Palestinian state. At a conference on Gaza in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is quoted as calling Israel a “cancerous tumour”. He also accused the Obama administration of making the mistake of following President Bush by giving “unconditional” support to Israel.