US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has criticized Israeli plans to expand a controversial settlement in the West Bank.
In an interview published today (Friday) by a leading US newspaper ,The Los Angeles Times, Ms. Rice said Israeli plans to build additional homes in the Maaleh Adumin settlement could threaten peace with the Palestinians and is at odds with American policy. European Union Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana also expressed concern about the expansion plan, which he said conflicts with commitments Israel made under the internationally brokered 2003 peace plan. Meanwhile, more than 10-thousand Hamas sympathizers gathered in the West Bank towns of Ramallah and Nablus to mark this week's one-year anniversary of the death of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin. The 67-year-old quadriplegic was killed in an Israeli airstrike as he was leaving a mosque in Gaza City last March.