Israel brushes aside U.S. pressure over statehood deal
Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:48pm EDT
By Adam Entous
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel sought on Monday to lower U.S. expectations for any deal with the Palestinians this year, brushing aside pressure over settlements and calling for decisions on Jerusalem's future to be deferred.
Disputes over Jewish settlement expansion on occupied West Bank land and a corruption scandal that may topple Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have undercut U.S. efforts to reach a statehood deal before President George W. Bush steps down in January,....
During her visit, Rice warned Israel that its continued settlement building was harming the peace negotiations.
Israeli officials said the government was unfazed by the criticism and told Rice that the settlement projects were consistent with long-standing policies. Israel wants to retain control of settlement blocs as part of any final deal.
Palestinians fear the enclaves will deny them a viable state.
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