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Clinton defends criticism of Israeli settlements

Clinton defends criticism of Israeli settlements
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Hillary Clinton has defended White House opposition to Israeli settlement building in a disputed part of Jerusalem.

She has spoken to a conference of an influential pro-Israeli lobby group in Washington, whose members have been voicing anger over recent US criticism of Israel.

Clinton said: “New construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank undermines that mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step towards the full negotiations that both sides say they want and need, and exposes daylight between Israel and the United States, that others in the region hope to exploit.”

Clinton pledged what she called unwavering commitment to Israeli security, but said halting settlement construction is essential if peace talks are to resume.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister, who has left for talks in Washington, is vowing not to stop settlement building, despite the US pressure.

Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri said: “Netanyahu announced during yesterday’s cabinet that he will not halt the settlements in Jerusalem, that it’s the same as in Tel Aviv, and he will continue what’s been going on for the past 42 years. Netanyahu is invited to meet Barack Obama, so the US administration is bowing to Israel, and we should not bet on the outcome.”

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