US warns Palestinians that statehood bid would harm peace talks with Israel

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For good measure, Rice also criticized Israel's continued construction of settlements as a roadblock to peace along with continued attacks from militants in Gaza.

“Israel should step up its efforts to deter, confront and prosecute anti-Palestinian violence and extremist hate crimes, including vandalism at religious sites,” Rice said. “We agree with President Peres that 'holy sites must not be harmed.' In the West Bank, the recent and repeated destruction of Palestinian olive groves, a critical source of income for the local population, is deplorable. We look to Israeli authorities to act decisively to protect these resources and investigate such acts.

“Like every U.S. administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. We continue to oppose any efforts to legalize outposts. The fate of existing settlements must be dealt with by the parties along with other permanent-status issues.”