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Clinton Derides 'Illegitimate' Israeli Settlements as U.S. Vetoes Palestinian Resolution

The U.S. delegation to the United Nations Friday used its veto power to reject a Security Council resolution condemning continued Israeli settlement expansion as illegal.  Shortly before the vote, however, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the settlements as "illegitimate."

In a pre-recorded interview with ABC News' Christiane Amanpour that will run Sunday, Clinton said, "I think it is absolutely clear to say, number one, that it's been American policy for many years that settlements were illegitimate and it is the continuing goal and highest priority of the Obama administration to keep working toward a two-state solution with both Israelis and Palestinians."

The United States' veto kept the Security Council resolution from passing, with all other council members endorsing the measure.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the resolution threatened to harm the peace process.

"It is the Israelis' and Palestinians' conflict, and even the best-intentioned outsiders cannot resolve it for them," she said.  "Therefore, every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard: Will it move the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement?

"Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations and, if and when they did resume, to return to the Security Council whenever they reach an impasse."

Last December, Clinton also contested the legitimacy of Israeli settlements.

"We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity," she said. "We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and two-state solution, but to Israel's future itself."

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