The US State Department has expressed displeasure over Israel’s planned construction of 117 housing units in the big settlement of Ariel near Tel Aviv. "Our views on that issue are well-known,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "We have had an ongoing discussion on this, as well as other issues, with Israel. It's a close friend and I'm not going to get into the content of those diplomatic exchanges." President Bush has endorsed Israel’s position that some settlement blocs will remain under Israeli control in any final peace agreement with the Palestinians. But at the same time, the US sees settlement expansion as a violation of the “roadmap” peace plan.
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