·Ok, I know it isn’t a nice visual, it isn’t meant to be. This middle east peace process has been going on for decades. One has to wonder if nobody has informed Israel?
Early this month V.P. Joe Biden was in Israel trying to jump start the peace process, and what should Israel announce while Biden is there? A plan to expand another 1,600 homes in occupied East Jerusalem. Diplomatic faux paux or a deliberate snub at the US? I find it hard to believe that was just bad timing. Benjamin Netanyahu is not a man likely to be uninformed about what announcements are coming out regarding the hot topic of settlement issues.
I have to give the Obama administration credit, they took Israel to task, unlike the previous Bush administration who gave Israel carte blanche. Hillary Clinton had a tense phone call with Netanyahu in which aides say she demanded a reversal of the decision on the East Jerusalem settlements and additional gestures by Israel to the Palestinians to demonstrate its seriousness about negotiations.
In his first public remarks on what Israeli commentators called his most serious crisis with Washington since taking office a year ago, he gave no sign he would meet Palestinian demands to cancel a project for 1,600 new settler homes.
“I suggest not to get carried away and to calm down,” Netanyahu told his cabinet, after a reprimand by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and written statements issued by the prime minister’s office that failed to calm the dispute.
“There was a regrettable incident here, that occurred innocently,” Netanyahu said, referring to an announcement by a government ministry during a visit last week by Vice President Joe Biden, of planned construction in an area of the West Bank that Israel has annexed to Jerusalem.
The timing of the disclosure, after Palestinians agreed to indirect peace talks, embarrassed Biden and raised questions over whether Israel’s settlement policy could harm U.S.-Israeli security cooperation on the question of Iran.
“It was hurtful and certainly it should not have happened,” Netanyahu said of the announcement by the Interior Ministry, controlled by the religious Shas party, a member of a governing coalition dominated by pro-settler parties, including his own.
Source: Political Monkey 2010’s Blog
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