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Obama Takes A Strong Stand Over West Bank Expansion

I've been pleasantly surprised so far with Obama's positions with Israel. It would be refreshing indeed to see someone finally break the political dea

I've been pleasantly surprised so far with Obama's positions with Israel. It would be refreshing indeed to see someone finally break the political deadlock:

JERUSALEM -- The divide between the United States and Israel over West Bank settlements deepened Thursday after Israel rebuffed the Obama adminstration's strongest demands yet that it freeze all building there.

After meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama stressed that Israel's obligations toward peace include "stopping settlements" and supporting a Palestinian state. His comments followed a bluntly worded statement Wednesday evening by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Obama "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions," Mrs. Clinton said, in the administration's most explicit renunciation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's West Bank policies. Her comments appeared to leave Mr. Netanyahu no alternative but to choose between his right-wing base and Washington.

Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday that the prime minister won't change his long-held position that building should be allowed to continue in existing settlements as part of "natural growth."

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