Israel and the US have been in talks on West Bank settlements but there is no sign of a breakthrough on the divisive issue.
The Israeli foreign minister has told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to expect a halt in settlement expansion. “We cannot accept this vision about absolutely, completely freezing settlements,” Avigdor Lieberman told reporters afters the meeting in Washington. The dispute is expected to dominate talks between Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US envoy George Mitchell next week. President Barack Obama’s blunt call for a stop to the development of Jewish communities in the Palestinian territories has opened up the deepest rift between the US and Israel in years. He sees it as one of the biggest obstacles to advancing peace in the region. But the new Israeli government was elected partly because of its firm support of the settlers and is showing little inclination to give ground.