The Obama administration on Monday harshly criticized its top Mideast ally, Israel, over new settlement construction plans in areas the Palestinians claim for a future state.
The State Department said the plans, notably one to begin preliminary work on an especially sensitive piece of land outside Jerusalem known as E1, are “especially damaging” to prospects for a resumption in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and run counter to longstanding U.S. policy.
“The United States opposes all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem, as they complicate efforts to resume direct, bilateral negotiations, and risk prejudging the outcome of those negotiations,” spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. “This includes building in the E1 area as this area is particularly sensitive and construction there would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution.”
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the settlement…
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