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Israeli Housing Plans Counterproductive, Clinton Says

Israeli Housing Plans Counterproductive, Clinton Says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Israeli plans to build additional housing in eastern Jerusalem is counterproductive to peace talks.

Clinton made the statement Wednesday during a joint video conference with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in which she announced that the United States would give an additional $150 million to the Palestinian Authority.

She is scheduled to meet Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York.

Clinton said Wednesday that a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians was still possible and necessary, and that the United States was continuing its efforts to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

A Jerusalem municipal committee on Monday announced approval of more than 1,000 housing units in Jewish neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem.

President Obama, during an official visit to Indonesia, cautioned that such building is “never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday ordered the PA’s observer to the United Nations to request that the U.N. Security Council call a meeting to discuss Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem and beyond the Green Line.

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