US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, said in a statement released Tuesday that the US does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity, and will continue to oppose any efforts to legalize outposts.

Speaking at the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, Rice emphasized: "The fate of existing settlements must be dealt with by the parties along with other permanent-status issues."

Referring to anti-Palestinian violence and desecration of religious sites, Rice added: "Israel should step up its efforts to deter, confront, and prosecute anti-Palestinian violence and extremist hate crimes."

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