Palestinian eviction a step in the wrong direction: US

"This is a step in the wrong direction," the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J Crowley told reporters at the daily State Department press conference.

At this point in time, the US is looking for all of the parties to take meaningful steps to return to a negotiation, he said. Responding to a question, Crowley said this was indeed a violation of the commitment made by Israel.

"Certainly the Israel Government, the Palestinian Authority made commitments under the Roadmap, and this is a violation of those commitments," he said.

Crowley said on Sunday the Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman was on phone to Israeli officials to express America's concern about the step.

"So we are, in fact, in close communication with the Israelis, and we have conveyed our deep concern about these efforts," he said.

Earlier in the day, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, termed such eviction action by Israel as deeply regrettable. "I have said before that the eviction of families and demolition of homes in East Jerusalem is not in keeping with Israeli obligations. And I urge the government of Israel and municipal officials to refrain from such provocative actions," Clinton said.

Noting that both sides have responsibilities to refrain from provocative actions that can block the path toward a comprehensive peace agreement, Clinton said: "Unilateral actions taken by either party cannot be used to prejudge the outcome of negotiations. And they will not be recognised as changing the status quo."

The Obama Administration wants both sides to refrain from any actions that might make it more difficult to negotiate their way through all of the issues that have to be resolved, she said.

"There are what are called final status issues. Everybody knows what they are, and everybody knows that neither side is going to get everything it wants. Negotiations don't work that way," Clinton said.

"Everyone needs to refrain from provocative actions that might interfere with the path forward. That's on all sides, and that's what we expect," she said.

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