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Clinton's Mideast Push Hits Brick Wall

Palestinians rebuff Israeli offer to slow but not stop settlements
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2009 11:30 PM CDT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a press conference in Jerusalem.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton's day of diplomacy in the Mideast yielded little progress. She met separately with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu but did not secure a deal to restart peace talks. The main sticking point: Abbas rebuffed an offer from Netanyahu—and relayed by Clinton—to slow but not stop new settlements. Clinton called the offer "unprecedented," but Abbas called it a "non-starter," reports the New York Times.

“Mr. Netanyahu has a choice, settlements or peace, and he has chosen settlements," said Abbas. Netanyahu said no such restrictions on settlements have ever been a condition for talks, notes the Wall Street Journal. Clinton agreed: "What the prime minister is saying is historically accurate," she said. "What the prime minister has offered ... is unprecedented in the context of prior to negotiations."
(Read more Hillary Clinton stories.)