Associated Press
December 18, 2012 - 1:00am


The State Department accused Israel on Tuesday of engaging in a “pattern of provocative action” over the country’s plans to proceed with new settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Victoria Nuland, a department spokeswoman, said settlement activity only put the goal of peace “further at risk” and urged both Israel and thePalestinians to halt all provocations and take steps to revive long-stalled peace talks.

Her remarks were a rare rebuke of a close ally, but the United States has grown increasingly frustrated with the Israelis, who continue to announce new settlement construction and take other measures seen as retaliation over a recent United Nations vote to upgrade Palestine’s status.

Separately on Tuesday, the British foreign secretary, William Hague, called all Israeli settlements “illegal under international law.”

He warned that the East Jerusalem project “would make a negotiated two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, very difficult to achieve.”

The European Union, Israel’s biggest trading partner, has been increasingly vocal in its criticism of new settlements.

A string of European governments summoned their Israeli ambassadors to lodge protests after the Israeli settlement announcements.


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