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US consulate posts anti-settlement news report

Jan. 16, 2014 4:44 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 8:20 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The US Consulate General in Jerusalem on Thursday hinted at a second incident in days of Israeli criticism of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

On its Facebook account, the consulate linked to a story on an Israeli news site that refuted claims by Israeli Minister of Housing Uri Ariel that Kerry approved his plan to build 1,400 new settlement units in the West Bank.

The story quoted a US official as saying: "Our position on settlements has not changed, and we have consistently communicated our objection both publicly and directly to the Israelis on settlement announcements."

"In case you missed it on Monday, the U.S. official in this story got it right," the consulate noted.

Days earlier, after the Israeli defense minister undermined Kerry's efforts to finalize a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the State Department asked Israel's prime minister to publicly express his disagreement.

Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave no official comment, he seemed to exert pressure on the minister, Moshe Yaalon, whose office issued a statement of apology Wednesday.

Yaalon had described Kerry Tuesday as having an "obsession" with Middle East peace. In a private conversation with Israeli officials, Yaalon said Kerry's plan was "not worth the paper it was written on."

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