Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:47 UK

US call for settlement halt: Your views

A selection of BBC website readers' emails on the US call for all Israeli settlement activity to stop.

Emails from Israel

Anyone who tells me that I cannot live in a certain area because I am Jewish is anti-Semitic - it follows logically that all those who argue that there should be no Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria should be condemned for racism, even if their last name is Clinton. The essence of peace is co-existence. If I, as an Israeli Jew, have to put up with having Palestinian Arab neighbours, then they should learn to put up with us.

Yaakov Arram, Bet Shemesh, Israel

I approve of Obama's strong call to restrict the growth of settlements. In fact, ultimately this sort of tough talk is good for Israel. The truth is that many settlements - if not most or all - will have to be dismantled before a final deal is reached with the Palestinians. So limiting their size now will only make that future job less painful, less arduous, and less expensive,
Yaakov Tzahov, Jerusalem, Israel

Because of the dysfunctional Abbas government and the civil war between Hamas-dominated Gaza and the West Bank, Ms Clinton is focussing on forcing the democratically elected and functioning Israeli government to make dangerous concessions so that she and America can boast "achievements" in the Arab/Israeli impasse. This misguided approach benefits no one, including America.
MF, Israel

If Arab villages are allowed to 'grow', then why shouldn't Jewish villages and towns?
Michael Lieberman, Jerusalem, Israel

This is outrageous, in less than a couple of weeks Obama has reduced Israeli-American relations to rubble. There are Israeli cities inside the West Bank with tens of thousands of civilians, do you expect them to give their new born children up for adoption?
Nati, Israel

This is not only necessary but insufficient. The only hope for our now practically fascist apartheid state (it's OK, I'm a Jew living in Israel, and I don't hate myself) to stop causing so much turmoil in the Middle East, is for Obama to push for adherence to their side of any peace process. Dismantle the settlements - including Maale Adumim and others in East Jerusalem - respect international law, including refugees' right of return, end demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, share resources.
Thomas Stocker, Jerusalem, Israel

You state that the settlements are illegal under international law! Israel did not 'occupy' the West Bank, as you erroneously claim, but if it had, then the settlements would not be illegal at all, but quite legitimate - no different really to British people building houses in Belfast!
Michael Cohen, Maaleh Adumim, Israel

Please keep in mind that the land in question is disputed territory. The Jewish (Israeli) entitlement to this land is not something new. Our claim is not made up out of air just to antagonize the US State Department, the EU, and the Arab world. We are not newcomers to this part of the world, as the nation "Israel" has been known since ancient times. Our connection to this land has been continuous for over 3000 years.
Yehuda Ben Moshe, Kfar Saba, Israel

I believe in a halt to settlement activities. This issue will have to be resolved if a final agreement is to be reached. The question is, however, what is Obama calling on the Palestinians to do? You cannot expect the Israelis to start throwing down concessions if they will not be reciprocated. Israeli internal politics were nearly torn asunder when Sharon unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and that involved fewer settlers. Do not expect to heap demands on the Israelis without equal measures from the Palestinians.
Ben, Jerusalem, Israel

I am a 61 year old farmer, growing grapes and dates for over 30 years. One of my sons helps me on the farm. He is getting married and would like to build a home here. Surely that is a reasonable request.
Denis, Moshav Masua, Jordan Valley, Israel

The settlements are wrong from every perspective except the religious right biblical "claim". The current government does not want a solution because they are not interested in a two-state solution which is the only show in town as far a peaceful future is concerned. The pull-out from Gaza means nothing since settlement activity has increased in the West Bank since then. The biggest joke is that some of Gaza's ex-settlers are being re-housed in the West Bank.
Lorcán Bermingham, Rehovot, Israel

Emails from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza

"The Israelis refuse to freeze settlement expansion because there is no way they are going to tell people not to have children or to force young people to move away from their families."

That's funny - what is the separation wall doing to the Palestinian people? What are the house demolitions doing to Palestinian families? What are collective punishments doing to the Palestinian villages, towns and cities? I am surprised Mr Netanyahu and the idiots surrounding him can say something like that with a straight face!Samer, Jerusalem

'Mark Regev said the fate of the settlements should be decided in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.' Meanwhile, the Israeli government is creating new realities on the ground by expanding settlements that will for sure impact negatively any peace negotiations with the Palestinians. If they were genuinely interested in peace, the Israeli government would self-choose to stop their cancerous policy on West Bank settlements.
Mohammed Naser, Jenin, Palestine

I do not understand the fixation on the "settlements" in the West Bank. We should all take a sobering look at the immediate problems facing both Palestinians and Jews. I will be the first to admit that Hamas must stop firing missiles into Israel and the following retaliation needs to be more targeted. I am all for the elimination of Hamas but the collateral damage to the rest of us is unbearable at times. These settlements offer no immediate promise to the end of the conflict even if they were immediately removed as they were here in Gaza. It is unfortunate how naive most of you are as to the actual problems faced here in the region.
Nasser Santaby, Gaza City

Emails from the Middle East

Nice way to please and comfort President Abbas on his visit to Washington. He will come home with more empty promises. If Washington is sincere, then stop all aid to Israel and ask Egypt to open the border.
Kassim, UAE

Mrs Clinton's statement displays a contrast between the Obama and Bush administrations, but here in the Middle East people want to see real change, because on the ground nothing has changed; settlements continue to "grow" on Palestinian land and Gaza is still blocked. Until we see a major shift in Israel's policies towards the Palestinians, then quite frankly this will be the same kind of talk we've been hearing for years.
Karim El Araby, Alexandria, Egypt

Typical reaction, they just want to show that this administration is all about 'change', yet nothing will change! If Israel wants to expand settlements, it WILL. What we want is the US to demand an end to the violence and killing of Palestinians. Where was the US when Gaza were being bombarded? The US is too biased and it can NEVER be a mediator for the conflict, in fact, it will always be regarded as an enemy in the region.
Mahmoud Khobieh, Damascus, Syria

While I'm very pleased with this adopted attitude by the Obama White House, I'm still wary. It is gratifying to see that even the US can no longer tolerate the expansion of the illegal settlements, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. President Obama was the only candidate ever to promise Jerusalem to the Israelis. I think, as Arabs, we should take what we can, but not be blind to the fact that the US-Israeli alliance will always be something we have to contend with.
Mehdi Rifai, Damascus, Syria

Israel must comply with international law to achieve peace with its neighbours. It can't keep dictating its own terms for peace.
Nora Feidi, Dubai - UAE

Emails from the rest of the world

Well, finally some one has the guts to stand up and tell Israel what they needed to hear in a very long time. Well done President Obama!
Vusi Silonda, Johannesburg, South Africa

OK, it's about time. This must be just a first baby step. They are building settlements and expanding them on stolen Palestinian land. Not sure why saying this must stop is somehow major news. Of course they must stop!
Ghattas Khoury, Riverside, CA USA

I just returned from a trip to the Middle East during which I and five other Americans were attempting to carry medical supplies into Gaza. We were denied access even after waiting two full days at the Rafah border crossing. We spent the rest of the time in the West Bank and East Jerusalem with NGO's working against house demolitions and observing human rights. I am very happy with Hilary's clear push to finally have the Israeli government comply with international law.
Colin Gilbert, Los Angeles USA

I think every country is asking something from Israel. Never from Palestinians. So I don't think peace will be easy with that policy. Anyway I don't think Palestinians are keen on peace. What they want - and they said it - is Israel to disappear from the area, just to let that area returning to stones and sand.

When you look at the series of chronological maps of the West Bank since 1967, it is clear that Israel is dividing the West Bank by supporting the development of settlements across its mid-section. Even if Israel ceased all future expansion of official and unofficial settlements, the extent of the current development could be viewed by some as a slow defeat of the possibility that a Palestinian state could be established in the West Bank.
Penelope, Washington, DC

The United States is treading on thin ice. We have few true allies in this world. Our relationship with Israel must be protected. We must not succumb to the temptation to strongarm Israel with the hopes of gaining favour with other powers in that region. Obama, Clinton, et al may find themselves isolated, grasping empty alliances with those sworn to our ultimate doom.
Michael R. Caldeen, Minneapolis, MN

At last, Israel has shown its true colours instead of pretending it would dismantle settlements and then doing nothing. Let's just hope Obama has the guts to actually do something rather than all the previous pathetic presidents. Finally there could really be a chance of redressing the balance and reducing the persecution of the Palestinians.
Nick, Reading, UK

I went to Israel in 1999 and felt that with all the hard work put in by the Israelis it would be unfair to ask them to give up the settlements.
Swapan Chakrabarti, Calcutta, India

The directives of the US should be obeyed. After all, we foot the bill and the settlements are immoral anyway.
Joe O'Sulllivan, Crookhaven, Ireland

Limiting settlement activity - and even removing settlements - is top of the list for many people worldwide. It is immoral and illegal, regardless of "how small Israel is", as my Israeli acquaintances have all told me. So what! Small or not small, Israel is not entitled to just take. Unfortunately, I am sure that no US administration will ever produce the courage needed to amend this situation. Isn't it oh so convenient that the media focus and "talks" always remain on rocks and rockets? Talk about being duped.
F Sharing , Frankfurt, Germany

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