Israel and the US try to heal rift

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Israel and the US try to heal rift

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Violence in East Jerusalem has continued over Israeli plans to build settler homes there, but the United States and Israel are now trying to patch up their differences.

Both have renewed their commitment to peace talks but are wary of looking weak to each other, to their audiences at home or to the Arab world.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said: “I believe that the relations between Israel and the United States will return to the way they were. There is a long, historic friendship between the Jewish people and the Americans.”

After her earlier outraged remarks directed at the Israeli prime minister, Hillary Clinton has also soften her tone.

“We are engaged in a very active consultation with the Israelis over steps that we think would demonstrate the requisite commitment to this process. And it’s been a very important effort on out part as well as theirs because we know how hard this is.”

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton is also in the region. It is her first official trip to the Middle East and she has walked straight into the dispute.

She has already condemned Israel’s construction plans but has called for an urgent resumption of the US mediated proximity talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

The EU is the largest aid donor to the Palestinians, providing one billion euros each year.