President Barack Obama's top
national security aide on Thursday blamed Israeli settlement
expansion announcements for some of the latest tensions between
Israel and the Palestinians as US-brokered peace talks between
the two sides have faltered.
In a speech to a Washington think tank, Susan Rice, Obama's
national security adviser, said the United States remained
committed to Middle East peacemaking, but made clear that it saw
Jewish settlement construction plans as hampering those efforts.
"We have seen increased tensions on the ground. Some of this
is a result of recent settlement announcements. So let me
reiterate: The United States
does not accept the legitimacy of
continued Israeli settlement activity," she said.
Her remarks to a conference of the Middle East Institute
drew applause from an audience that included former and current
US officials, foreign diplomats, some from Arab countries, and