Al-Quds city– U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has turned up the pressure on Israel to stop expanding West Bank settlements, cautioning in her recent visit that Washington wouldn”t accept new construction, Israeli officials said Sunday.
The U.S. Embassy and Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment. But the scolding meshes with U.S. President George W. Bush”s criticism of settlement expansion after meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas last month.
Israeli officials present at a meeting where Rice leveled the criticism said she did not threaten any particular penalty for settlement expansion. But they said she wasdispleased by construction she saw when traveling from Jerusalem to the West Bank town of Ramallah for meetings with Palestinian leaders a week ago.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of their positions, according to a report of The Associated Press.