The U.S. has renewed pressure on Israel to evacuate illegal outposts in the West Bank and has asked Jerusalem to broaden efforts to help West Bank Palestinians in the run-up to the Annapolis peace summit next month.
During talks in Jerusalem late last week, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the U.S. expects Israel to take measures that will assist Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Hadley’s message was that if Israel wants to delay the discussions on the core issues – refugees, Jerusalem and borders – it must help the Palestinians change the situation on the ground and evacuate the outposts.
Israel has promised to evacuate all the outposts set up in the West Bank after March 2001, but has failed to abide by this. The U.S.administration has not raised the issue for the past three years in light of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Hadley also made it clear that the White House is fully coordinated with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, dismissing any impression that Rice is acting independently and that her efforts do not enjoy the backing of President George W. Bush. CONTINUE