Mrs Clinton: "The president wants to see a stop to settlements"
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said there must be no exceptions to President Barack Obama's demand that Israel stop its settlement activity.
Correspondents say it is the first time in years that US officials have been so vocal in calling for a settlement freeze in the Palestinian territories.
The comments come hours before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet Mr Obama at the White House.
Israel's PM has defied US demands, saying some settlements can expand.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with her Egyptian counterpart, Mrs Clinton said that the president was "very clear" with PM Benjamin Netanyahu at their recent meeting that there should be a stop to all settlements.
"Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions. We think it is in the best interest of the effort that we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease," Mrs Clinton said.
"There is no way that we are going to tell people not to have children or to force young people to move away from their families," a senior official quoted Mr Netanyahu as telling the Israeli cabinet on Sunday.
However, he has said he is willing to remove makeshift outposts in the West Bank - small settlements, sometimes with only a few people - that the Israeli government itself considers illegal.
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