US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has offered Israel half praise and half criticism on their plans for a semi-freeze of settlement expansion. On Monday she said that the proposed plan “falls short of US expectations.” Israel says that it is willing to limit settlement expansion, while not freezing it altogether.
“Successive American administrations of both parties have opposed Israel’s settlement policy. That is absolutely a fact, and the Obama administration’s position on settlements is clear, unequivocal and it has not changed. As the president has said on many occasions, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlementsâ€¦I will offer positive reinforcement to either of the parties when I believe they are taking steps that support the objective of reaching a two-state solution,” she said.
“This offer falls far short of what we would characterize as our position or what our preference would be. But if it is acted upon it will be an unprecedented restriction on settlements and would have a significant and meaningful effect on restraining their growth.”
Clinton also insisted that the Palestinian Authority deserved credit for their “unprecedented” steps toward improving security in the West Bank.
After her stop in the Holy Land, Mrs. Clinton continued down the path to Morocco, to speak with Foreign Ministers from several Persian Gulf countries, including Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia.
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