US 'backs down' over settlements.10/31/2009 9:03:32 PM
The US has called for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians without preconditions, an apparent climb down on earlier demands for Israel to halt settlement building.
The issue should be considered as part of peace negotiations, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said at a news conference in Jerusalem late on Saturday.
"There has never been a precondition. It's always been an issue within the negotiations," Clinton said.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who spoke alongside Clinton, said Palestinian demands for a full Israeli settlement Israeli settlements are communities inhabited by Israeli Jews in territory that came under Israel's control as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank, which is partially under Israeli military administration freeze were being used to prevent the renewal of peace talks.
"It is actually being used as a pretext ... as an obstacle that prevents the re-establishment of negotiations," he said.
The administration of Barack Obama, the US president, had previously demanded that Israel halt all settlement building before negotiations could resume, a move that was applauded by the Palestinians but which brought the US and Israel to loggerheads Log´ger`heads`
n. 1. (Bot.) The knapweed.
loggerheads npl at loggerheads (with) → de pique (con)
loggerheads npl .
'US climb down'
Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's Jerusalem correspondent, said: "The Americans would never admit to backtracking (algorithm) backtracking - A scheme for solving a series of sub-problems each of which may have multiple possible solutions and where the solution chosen for one sub-problem may affect the possible solutions of later sub-problems. , but if we watch the way that the language has changed and the way the emphasis has changed, it's quite clear there has been a slide in the American position.
"Now, we hear Hillary Clinton urging an immediate resumption of talks - 'get back on the path', she said, really not wanting to look at conditions.
In their early months in office, Obama and Clinton called for a complete halt to settlement activity.
But after bringing Abbas and Netanyahu together in at the United Nations in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of in September, Obama called only for "restraint" on settlements, not a "freeze".
"We really watched Hillary Clinton fall into line with Israel," Rowland said of Saturday's press conference.
The move is unlikely to be accepted by the Palestinians.
Mahmoud Abbas Mahmoud Abbas (Arabic: محمود عباس) (born March 26, 1935), also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , the Palestinian president, earlier rejected Clinton's request to resume negotiations when they met in Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (ä`b thä`bē, zä–, dä–), Arab. Abu Zabi, sheikhdom (1995 pop. 928,360), c. in the United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates, federation of sheikhdoms (2005 est. pop. 2,563,000), c.30,000 sq mi (77,700 sq km), SE Arabia, on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. .
Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Abbas rejected the US offer because the recent deal reached between George Mitchell George Mitchell may refer to:
Erakat said that Israel had refused to halt construction of some 3,000 houses currently being built in the West Bank or any construction in annexed east Jerusalem East Jerusalem refers to the part of Jerusalem captured by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and subsequently by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. It includes Jerusalem's Old City and some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, such as the Temple Mount, Western .
Mark Regev, Netanyahu's spokesman, had no comment when asked what gestures Israel might be willing to make to help Abbas.
He reiterated Israel's position that it is ready to relaunch talks without preconditions.
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down late last year and have remained stalled, despite the renewed push by the US.
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