US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reportedly said in Annapolis this week that her childhood in the segregated South had helped her to understand the suffering on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I know what its like to hear that you can't use a certain road or pass through a checkpoint because you are a Palestinian. I know what it is like to feel discriminated against and powerless," Rice told a closed meeting of Arab and Israeli representatives, according to the Dutch representative at the summit, Franz Timmermans.
"Like Israelis, I understand what it's like to go to sleep not knowing if you will be hurt in an explosion, the feeling of terror walking around your own neighborhood, or walking to your house of prayer," Timmermans quoted Rice as saying, the Washington Post reported.
Rice described her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama, during the era of segregation and the killing of four young girls in a bombing at a Baptist church in 1963. She reportedly said the bombing, which killed one of her classmates, helps her understand the fear of terrorism felt by Israelis.
Timmermans also told the Post that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had pleaded with Arab representatives at the summit to stop "treating her like a leper," and questioned why they refused to shake her hand.
The Arab representatives, he added, had treated Livni like she was "Dracula's younger sister."
The Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued a statement denying that Livni had made those comments.