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White House: Israeli settlement plan 'counterproductive'
Published Friday 30/11/2012 (updated) 02/12/2012 16:59
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The White House said Friday a new Israeli settlement expansion plan was "counterproductive" and could make it harder to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

"We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction and announcements," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Israel plans to build thousands of new homes for its settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, an Israeli official said earlier, defying a UN vote that implicitly recognized Palestinian statehood there.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative government had authorized the construction of 3,000 housing units.

"We believe these actions are counterproductive and make it arder resume direct negotiations or achieve of a two state solution," Vietor said. "Direct negotiations remain our goal and we encourage all parties to take steps to make that easier to achieve."

Daniel Levy, a former Israeli negotiator and now senior fellow and director for Middle East and North Africa at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the move amounts to an endorsement of a one-state solution and the result of a weak US stance.

"Yesterday at the United Nations the Palestinian leadership endorsed a two-state outcome. Today in its settlement decision on the E-1 corridor, the Israeli Government endorsed a one-state outcome. Israel's American sponsors might want to inquire as to whether the one-state outcome Israel's leaders have in mind is democratic or "apartheidist" in its orientation."

He added: "Obama began his first term by calling for a full settlement freeze. The consensus in Washington is that this was a mistaken move by the new President. It was not. The mistakes began when Obama blinked first, refused to apply the huge leverage at America's disposal, and never got the freeze.

"He has been stared down by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu ever since. If President Obama is not up to trying again, this time with muscle, then the conversation to start having with Israel's leader should be about democracy rather than separation."

Ma'an staff in Bethlehem contributed reporting.
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1 ) Julie / USA
01/12/2012 19:04
"The White House said Friday a new Israeli settlement expansion plan was 'counterproductive' ".........."counterproductive"??? LOLLLLLLLL!!! newsflash: it's a WAR CRIME per INTERNATIONAL LAW/Geneva Convention!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 ) Mel / USA
01/12/2012 19:35
How despicable,nauseous 2 B covered in D.C.criminal diplo-verbo-slime! It's a disgrace to American values/internt. rule-of-law,US integrity,now crushed by imperial absolutism reigning again,with laws only for some!SHAME ON D.C. inbred Republocrats,4 all your selfish HYPOCRISY &lily-livered bullsh*t! STOP the ILLEGAL US-tax-payer checks to Israel,recall our ambassadors,cut the umbilical cord to Israel,kick out medieval Zionist trolls in our Govt.who'd sacrifice,their host USA,for ZIONISM? Never!!

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
01/12/2012 23:01
The standard US whimper. God forbid we note that the settlements (a) are illegal under the Geneva Convention, (b) contravene Israel's own signed commitments, and (c) are blatant theft.

4 ) Rami / Palestine
02/12/2012 11:16
All I heard was "we reiterate our longstanding blah blah blah rabble rabble..." No one cares about the united states anymore. Washington can go screw off.

5 ) John Darling / Occupied USA
03/12/2012 01:26
Hold them back! Such stern condemnations and boisterous criticism coming for the Occupied White House are liable to make po' little Isreal cry. There's no denying that Obama is a meany and an anti-semitic(tm).

6 ) MK Ultra / USSA
03/12/2012 01:28
Well, this is peace I can believe in.
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