Clinton angers Palestinians

The Palestinians on Sunday accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of undermining progress toward Mideast peace talks after she praised Israel for offering to curb some Jewish settlement construction.

JERUSALEM — The Palestinians on Sunday accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of undermining progress toward Mideast peace talks after she praised Israel for offering to curb some Jewish settlement construction.

After meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders during a visit Saturday, Clinton called for an unconditional resumption of peace talks and welcomed Israel’s offer for a slowdown in settlement activity.

But Palestinians rejected the idea of resuming talks, reiterating their demand that Israel must first freeze all construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — lands they claim for a future state.

“I believe that the U.S. condones continued settlement expansion,” Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said in a rare public chiding of Washington.

“Calling for a resumption of negotiations despite continued settlement construction doesn’t help because we have tried this way many times,” Khatib added. “Negotiations are about ending the occupation and settlement expansion is about entrenching the occupation.”

Palestinians expressed deep disappointment and frustration at Clinton’s words, which signalled a departure from past U.S. calls for a complete freeze on settlement activity.

“If America cannot get Israel to implement a settlement freeze, what chance do Palestinians have of reaching agreement with Israel on permanent status issues?” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Similar sentiments were voiced by Jordan and Egypt, the only two Arab countries to have peace agreements with Israel. The two countries said most of the blame lay with Israel, but signalled their unhappiness with the American shift.

Clinton is set to meet with Arab foreign ministers in Morocco in the coming days.

After taking office at the start of this year, President Barack Obama buoyed Palestinian hopes with his outreach to the Muslim world and an initially tough stance urging a full freeze to all settlement construction.

The Palestinians say the settlements are undermining their dream of independence by gobbling up large chunks of territory they claim as part of a future state. Some 500,000 Israeli settlers now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967.

Just Posted

Red Deer property taxes to go up 2.15 per cent in 2019

City council approves $369.8 million budget

Sylvan Lake council approves concept plan for new park

Pogadl Park will eventally be home to numerous ball diamonds and sports fields

One person dead after collision on Highway 2A

Pickup truck and grain truck collided on Highway 2A south of Carstairs

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Shooter pleads guilty to manslaughter in Stettler

A Stettler man charged with second-degree murder has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Most Read