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If Obama opposes Israeli settlement activity, why did US veto UN vote?

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At the same, officials continue to make clear that the Obama administration strongly opposes expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Ambassador Rice: US opposes settlements

After voting on the resolution, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice emphasized that "our opposition to the resolution before this council today should … not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity.”

“On the contrary, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” Ambassador Rice said.

"The United States has been deeply committed to pursuing a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians," she said. "In that context, we have been focused on taking steps that advance the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, rather than complicating it. That includes a commitment to work in good faith with all parties to underscore our opposition to continued settlements."

To the extent that he can, President Obama has played a direct role in this most recent issue. For nearly an hour Thursday, he spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the Security Council issue.

But Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to head off the proposed vote. The US favors instead a compromise measure that includes a call for a freeze on settlements, a visit to the region by a UN Security Council delegation, and a statement by the “Mideast Quartet” (the US, the European Union, the UN, and Russia) referring to 1967 borders in reference to a Palestinian state.

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