JERUSALEM (JTA) – Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes in eastern Jerusalem.
The U.S. secretary of state also said at a news conference Wednesday in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem was "unhelpful" to peace efforts. Clinton and Abbas met prior to the news conference.
Clinton said Israel’s plans to demolish Palestinian homes are a violation of international obligations. Israel says the homes are being destroyed because they were constructed illegally.
"Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road map,’ " Clinton said. "It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem."
Clinton said President Obama would be actively involved in the peace process.
Abbas said the Palestinians respected the Israeli voters’ choices and would work with the new government that is being formed. Abbas said he expected the new government to honor the two-state principle, as well as put an end to settlement expansion and open border crossings, according to reports.
Clinton had met earlier with P.A. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and praised his plan for rebuilding the Gaza Strip, two days after she pledged $900 million in U.S. economic and humanitarian aid at a donors’ conference in Egypt.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday that Clinton’s remarks throughout her Mideast trip have been "totally biased in favor of the Zionist occupation and do not reflect any change in American foreign policy," The Associated Press reported.