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US criticises Israeli eviction move
Secretary of state says removal of Palestinians from East Jerusalem is "regrettable".
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2009 04:55 GMT
Clinton called on Israel to respect its obligations as the US continues its mediation efforts [EPA] 

The US secretary of state has criticised the eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem by Israeli officials, after holding talks with Jordan's foreign minister in Washington.

Hillary Clinton said after the meeting with Nasser Judeh that the forced removal over the weekend of Palestinian families from homes deemed by Israel's supreme court to be under Jewish ownership was "deeply regrettable".

"The eviction of families and demolition of homes in East Jerusalem is not in keeping with Israeli obligations and I urge the government of Israel and municipal officials to refrain from such provocative actions," she said on Monday.

George Mitchell, the US envoy for Middle East peace, is continuing to work with the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority in an effort to reach a peace agreement, Clinton said.

"I think everyone understands that sequential actions need to be taken and we are working very hard under Senator Mitchell's leadership and guidance to get to the negotiating table and, once there, everything concerning a comprehensive peace agreement is on that table," she said.

No 'piecemeal' approach

But Judeh said that Jordan does not support an incremental approach to building trust between Israel and Arab states, echoing similar comments on Friday by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.

"In the Middle East, there has been in the past an overinvestment, perhaps, by the parties in pursuing confidence-building measures, conflict-management techniques, including transitional arrangements, and an overemphasis on gestures, perhaps at the expense of reaching the actual end game,'' Judeh said.

"Piecemeal approaches that never lead to peace and that have proven repeatedly to be confidence-eroding, rather than confidence-building'' must be avoided, he said.

He also spoke out against Israel's refusal to stop the construction of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, and said that the Israeli government should not reject the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

The Saudi authored plan offers Israel a full normalisation of ties with Arab states as long as Israel returns all Arab lands captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The initiative also calls for Israel to allow the creation of a viable Palestinian state to resolve the problem of Palestinian refugees, in line with United Nations resolutions.

Source:
Agencies
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