Obama: settlement expansion unhelpful

Expanding settlements is not helpful to the peace process, Barack Obama said.

Sen. Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, spoke to CNN on Friday after an announcement by Israel’s Defense Ministry that it would add 22 houses to a barely inhabited Jordan Valley settlement.

“As a general proposition, the Israelis sitting down with the Palestinians in Annapolis and in previous agreements have recognized that that these settlements are not helpful,” Obama said, referring to the latest round of talks launched last November in Annapolis, Md. “I think its import for the Israel to abide their agreements regarding settlements” just as Palestinians must keep their promise to crack down on terrorism, he said. Obama said U.S. involvement was also critical.

He would not be drawn into an apology for spending a day in Israel this week while he only spent an hour on the West Bank, saying that he had met with Palestinians on a previous visit.

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