Obama: Settlement expansion could be ‘dangerous’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama said additional Israeli settlement building "embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous."

In an interview Wednesday with Fox News in China, Obama said Israel’s decision to approve the construction of 900 new apartments on the outskirts of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo was not helpful to peace talks.

"The situation in the Middle East is very difficult, and I’ve said repeatedly and I’ll say again, Israel’s security is a vital national interest to the United States, and we will make sure they are secure," Obama said. "I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel’s security. I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous."

On Tuesday, in a statement, the White House said it was "dismayed" by the decision on Gilo, which was made by the Jerusalem municipality.

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