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Indyk warns Israelis on settlements

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JERUSALEM, April 21 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk warned Israelis in an interview Wednesday that continuing the U.S. partnership is up to them.

Speaking on Israeli radio, Indyk said progress in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is in U.S. strategic interests, ABC News reported. That progress depends on a freeze in new construction.

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"If you need the United States, then you need to take into account America's interests," said Indyk, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs during the Clinton administration and now is acting vice president for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has refused to halt construction in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their capital. Last week, Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, asserted Israel's claim to the entire city in an op-ed piece published in the United States.

Indyk's interview followed an op-ed piece he published in The New York Times. He warned Netanyahu he must choose between U.S. President Barack Obama and his own right wing.

"If he continues to defer to those ministers in his Cabinet who oppose peacemaking, the consequences for U.S.-Israel relations could be dire," said Indyk, who was one of the lead U.S. negotiators at the Camp David talks.

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