U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that Israel's construction of settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank undermines mutual trust, the peace talks and the U.S. mediating role, and accused Palestinians of inciting violence.
"New construction in east Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need," Clinton said in a speech to the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, according to her prepared remarks.
"It exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region could hope to exploit," the chief U.S. diplomat said.
"And it undermines America’s unique ability to play a role -- an essential role, I might add -- in the peace process," she said.
Meanwhile, Clinton also accused the Palestinians of inciting violence by mischaracterizing the re-opening of a synagogue in Jerusalem's old city as an attack on Muslims.
"It is purely and simply an act of incitement," she said.
"These provocations are wrong and must be condemned for needlessly inflaming tensions and imperiling prospects for a comprehensive peace," she added.
The United States had previously rejected Palestinian criticism of the rededication of the historic Hourva synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the old city.
Clinton charged that "instigators" of violence had "deliberately" mischaracterized the rededication in calling on Palestinians to defend nearby Muslim holy sites against "attacks."
The synagogue was rebuilt and reopened March 15, 62 years after it was destroyed in fighting with Jordan.
Hatem Abdel Qader, who oversees Jerusalem affairs for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah, warned after the rededication that it was "not just a synagogue."
"This synagogue will be a prelude to violence, extremism and religious fanaticism, and that will not be limited to extremist Jews but includes members of the Israeli government," he said.