Clinton condemns settlements, but defends US position toward Israel
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the Obama administration’s position on Israeli settlement construction Wednesday. Following a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Clinton said, “Our policy on settlement has not changed.”
“There is no doubt that moving toward a state that reflects the aspirations and the rights of the Palestinian people must include all of the issues that have been discussed and mentioned by President [Barack] Obama, and that includes Jerusalem,” she said.
“We do not accept the legitimacy of settlement activity and we have a very firm belief that ending all settlement activity, current and future, would be preferable,” Clinton added.
Speaking on Israel’s offer for a temporary settlement freeze, Clinton said, “It is not what we would prefer because we would like to see everything ended forever.” “But it is something that I think shows at least a positive movement forward toward final status issues being addressed,” she said.
On Saturday, Clinton said that a full settlement freeze was not a precondition to resuming Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Palestinian leaders, however, have said otherwise.