I don't know why they don't save ink by saying that as far as the US administration is concerned, Israel can do whatever it wants.
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, was forced into an awkward diplomatic pirouette yesterday, insisting to Arab foreign ministers that Washington had not capitulated to Israel's continuing hunger for new Jewish settlements even if statements she had made 24 hours earlier seemed to imply exactly that.
Arab anger had flared after Mrs Clinton departed from the script of President Barack Obama at the weekend, suggesting that the Palestinians should agree to resume peace talks without preconditions, including that Israel first stop all settlement construction in the West Bank. She appeared to endorse the offer by the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to institute merely a limited suspension of construction in some areas.
While not backtracking entirely, Mrs Clinton attempted in Morocco last night to massage those remarks. Saying that Israel had expressed to her "a willingness to restrain settlement activity," she added: "This offer falls far short of what our preference would be, but if it is acted upon, it will be an unprecedented restriction on settlements and would have a significant and meaningful effect on restraining their growth."
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