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Israel Recalls Diplomat in US Over Critical Memo

Israel has recalled one of its diplomats in the United States after Israeli media publicized a confidential memo he wrote criticizing the Israeli government for harming ties with the U.S.

Israel's Foreign Ministry said it was summoning Nadav Tamir so he could clarify his comments. Tamir is Israel's consul general in Boston, in the eastern U.S. state of Massachusetts.

Israel's Channel 10 television reported that Tamir's memo warned that the dispute with the U.S. over Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank is causing "strategic damage" to Israel. He indicated that the way the issue is being handled is a threat to the "special relationship" between the two countries.

U.S. officials have been pushing Israel to commit to a settlement freeze to facilitate Arab concessions in the peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused the call, saying limited settlement construction must continue to allow for "natural growth."

A delegation of 25 Republican members of the U.S. Congress visited Israel last week. The delegation's leader, Eric Cantor, said Washington should be focused on the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran instead of pressuring Israel over Jewish settlements.

Cantor is the only Jewish Republican in Congress.

Some Democratic members of the U.S. Congress are expected to travel to Israel this week.