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US blasts 'counterproductive' Israeli settlements
Clinton: Israeli move to add Jewish houses in E. Jerusalem 'counterproductive' to peace talks
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Israel's announcement of 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem is counterproductive to the Mideast peace talks.

Clinton says both sides should avoid provocative actions and that international mediators will remain focused on guiding Israel and the Palestinians back to direct negotiations after almost a year-long hiatus.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out any freeze in settlement construction. The Palestinians are demanding such an overture to return to talks.

The U.S. has been hoping for a quick resumption in peace talks to divert attention away from a Palestinian bid to win statehood at the U.N. Washington has promised to veto the effort, if necessary.

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