U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges the Jewish state not to demolish Palestinian homes in Arab East Jerusalem.
Hillary Clinton's first trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories as U.S. Secretary of State is part of a campaign to press home President Barack Obama's pledge to make peace a priority.
The scale of the task was underscored again on Wednesday as she visited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Clinton is urging Israel to ditch plans to demolish more than 80 homes in Arab East Jerusalem which Abbas has warned is another obstacle in the process.
SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying (English):
"The ramifications go far beyond the individuals and the families that have received the notices you referenced. So, yes, this will be taken up with the Israeli government."
In the West Bank town of Ramallah many Palestinians are pessimistic about U.S. intentions.
SOUNDBITE: Raed Shreti, resident of Ramallah, saying (Arabic):
"Hillary Clinton's visit is to dedicate American efforts that President Obama declared to create two states, one Palestinian and one Israeli, living side by side, in peace and security. If she has not come with this in mind then, in reality, her visit is not welcome."
Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip from President Abbas's Fatah Faction, insisted the new U.S. administration at the White House had nothing new to offer Palestinians.
SOUNDBITE: Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas official, saying (Arabic):
"It seems like there is nothing new in this meeting and there is no change in the American policy towards the Palestinian cause. The talks between Abbas and Clinton mean they have nothing more to give than negotiations between the Palestinian Authority, the Zionist occupation, and the road map."
A day earlier Clinton was in Israel pledging to press hard for a Palestinian state.
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the two-state option supported by Washington is the only answer.
Olmert's successor has shied away from any such commitment, putting Israel and the U.S. on a possible collision course.
Paul Chapman, Reuters
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