U.S. disappointed over Israel's stance on settlements

08:45, April 23, 2010      

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Reacting to Israel's rejection on freezing Jewish settlement activities in East Jerusalem, the United States said Thursday that the tough stance held by the Netanyahu-led government "is not sustainable."

"The Israelis have a long-standing position. But ... the status quo is not sustainable. We've had a variety of conversations on these issues and specific steps ... We think that they have to take," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.

In an interview with Israel TV Channel 2 on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel does not intend to comply with the Obama administration's demand to freeze settlement construction in East Jerusalem.

"There will be no freeze in Jerusalem, ... There should be no preconditions to talks," said the prime minister, referring to Palestinian National Authority's demand that Israel must halt all settlement activities before they would agree to resume direct peace talks.

The Obama administration has been exerting efforts to pressure on the Israeli government and the PNA to resume the stalled peace talks, so that the two sides could reach a permanent peace agreement that leads to secure Jewish state living side by side in peace and security with a viable and independent Palestinian state.

PNA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas insists that the talks shall not resume until the Israeli government fully freezes the Jewish settlement construction, while the Israeli side vows to ensure the "natural growth" of the Jewish settlements.

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