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White House eyes quieter discussion on settlements

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House wants to work through its differences with Israel over settlements "quietly, professionally, and without rancor or ultimatums," according to an e-mail from an unnamed White House official.

Politico reported Wednesday that the e-mail was sent to Hadar Susskind, the Washington director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Susskind told the publication he could share the e-mail as long as it was not attributable to a named official.

"While we may have some differences of view with Israel at the moment over settlements, we are trying to work through them quietly, professionally, and without rancor or ultimatums, as befits a strong relationship with an important ally," the e-mail said. "We are confident we can do that."

The e-mail states that President Obama "does believe Israel has an obligation to stop settlements — that is clearly what Israel agreed to in the road map."

It adds that the president "also believes (and said when he met with President Abbas) that the Palestinians have obligations to end incitement and continue improving their security capabilities to confront terrorism."

"He also has talked about the Arab states’ responsibilities to make serious gestures of normalization under the Arab peace initiative now, not at the end of the process," according to the e-mail.

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