Hillary Clinton AP 29.11.2010
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo by AP
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The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that the criticism of Israel issued by the European members of the UN Security Council did not aid in resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“Shouting from the rooftops of the Security Council is not going to change the situation on the ground, which is that these parties have to get back to the table and settle these issues together, and that’s the way we’re going to have a lasting, stable peace,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Nuland stressed that the U.S. does not recognize the legitimacy of Israeli settlements, but does not think statements in the UN Security Council are the way to get the parties back to the table.

On Tuesday, representatives of Britain, France, Germany and Portugal said a briefing by UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco had made clear to the 15-nation council that Israeli settlement activity was undermining attempts to restart peace talks.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry statement did not mention settlements but said that "interfering with Israel's domestic affairs, including on issues which are to be solved within the framework of direct talks, does not enhance the status they (the members) wish to be granted".

Peace talks brokered by the Quartet of Middle East negotiators - the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union - collapsed a year ago over Israel's refusal to halt construction in settlements. The Palestinians have refused to resume them unless Israel stops building.

Israel says negotiations should resume without preconditions and that most of its settlement construction takes place in areas it intends to keep in any future peace deal.