In a surprisingly strong statement Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank. On Thursday, an Israeli government spokesman insisted that while they would cease building new settlements, “normal life” (read “new construction”) would continue in those that already exist.

The New York Times:

Israel insisted Thursday that it wanted to reach an understanding with the United States on construction in West Bank settlements, despite a blunt call by the Obama administration to completely freeze all work.

A government spokesman, Mark Regev, had said a day earlier that the final status of the existing settlements would be determined in negotiations with the Palestinians. “In the interim, normal life should be allowed to continue in those communities,” he said then.

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