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Clinton Rejects U.S.-Israeli 'Crisis,' Urges Peace Commitment

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton has rejected that Washington's relations with Israel are in a "crisis" following Israel's announcement of a new Jewish housing project in disputed East Jerusalem.

Clinton said on March 16 that the United States has an "absolute commitment" to Israel's security, and said the two nations have a "close, unshakeable bond."

Clinton said, however, that Washington wants both Israel and the Palestinians to prove their commitment to working toward a peace deal under U.S. mediation.

"We share common values and a commitment to a democratic future for the world, and we are both committed to a two-state solution, but that doesn't mean we are going to agree. We don't agree with any of our international partners on everything," Clinton said.

The United States has condemned the Israeli government's announcement of plans to construct 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as a future capital of an independent state. The announcement, which came as U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden visited the region last week, has thrown into doubt a revival of U.S.-backed indirect peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Heightened tensions are reported to have led to violent clashes on March 16 between hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem.

compiled from agency reports