JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Israel’s concessions on settlement building fall short of Washington’s expectations.
Two days after she praised Israel for offering what she called ”unprecedented” concessions on West Bank settlement construction, Clinton said Monday before a conference in Marrakesh, Morocco that her statements Saturday evening in Israel were meant to offer positive reinforcement to Israel and did not mean an acceptance of West Bank settlements.
"The Israelis have responded to the call of the U.S., the Palestinians and the Arab world to stop settlement activity by expressing a willingness to restrain settlement activity," Clinton told reporters. "This offer falls far short of what our preference would be, but if it is acted upon it will be an unprecedented restriction on settlements and would have a significant and meaningful effect on restraining their growth."
The concessions include not building any new settlements or expropriating land for additions to existing settlements.
During a meeting earlier Saturday in Ramallah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected an Israeli proposal brought by Clinton that Israel be allowed to complete 3,000 housing units and temporarily freeze other construction, The New York Times reported.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa on Monday criticized the United States for letting Israel get away with continuing to build settlements.
"Failure is in the atmosphere all over," he said of restarting peace talks.
Clinton was in Marrakesh to meet with foreign ministers of several Persian Gulf nations. She met first with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri and was scheduled to have an audience with King Mohammed VI.