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US, Israeli Leaders Meet Amid Settlement Tensions


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) listens as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters during a meeting in New York, 11 Nov 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) listens as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters during a meeting in New York, 11 Nov 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have begun talks on the Middle East peace process, amid tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over Israel's resumption of settlement construction.

Clinton said she and Netanyahu would discuss "everything" as they headed into talks in New York, Thursday. The Israeli prime minister said he is seeking ways to resume negotiations with Palestinians and get a "historic agreement."

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in September, after an Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlement building expired. Palestinians oppose Israeli construction on land they consider part of a future state.

Tensions between the two sides increased earlier this week after Israel said it plans to build 1,300 new apartments in disputed East Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders have said they will not return to direct talks while new construction is under way.

Clinton's meeting with Netanyahu comes a day after she announced the U.S. will give the Palestinian Authority an additional $150 million in aid this year. She also said the U.S. does not support "unilateral steps" by either Israel or the Palestinians that could hinder direct negotiations.

On Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an "urgent" United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss new Israeli settlement-building.

Clinton meets Netanyahu to Revive Middle East Peace Talks

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

Related report by VOA's Ravi Khanna

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