State Department distances itself from Abbas's 'ethnic cleansing' statement

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack distanced himself from PA President Mahmoud Abbas's statement Thursday to the effect that Israel is carrying out "ethnic cleansing" against the Palestinians in east Jerusalem. "We would not use that term to describe the situation. I think it's probably an example of some overheated political rhetoric," he said. "This cuts to a lot of different issues with respect to borders and a lot of fundamental issues that exist between the Israelis and the Palestinians," McCormack said. "We would urge both sides, both the Israelis and the Palestinians, to keep their focus on the political process and also to adhere to their road map obligations."