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By Ron Kampeas
March 9, 2010
WASHINGTON JTA — Vice President Joe Biden denounced a decision to authorize new Jerusalem housing starts as “undermining the trust” that he needs to advance peace while in Israel.
“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem,” Biden said in a statement issued Tuesday, the second day of a visit that had been aimed at underscoring the closeness of the U.S.-Israel relationship. “The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.”
The “proximity talks” refer to a new round of Israeli-Palestinian talks the Obama administration had hoped to launch within the next few weeks.
Biden was referring to the announcement Tuesday by the Jerusalem District Planning Committee that it had authorized 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. The committee is jointly run by the Interior Ministry and the Jerusalem municipality.
Israel rebuffs Biden’s peace bid with new settlement homes
By Sheera Frenkel
March 9, 2010
JERUSALEM — Hours after the arrival Tuesday of Vice President Joe Biden to help launch indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israel announced the construction of 1,600 homes in a settlement block in mostly Arab East Jerusalem, an open rebuff that led Biden to issue a sharply worded condemnation.
A Palestinian Authority official said that Israel’s decision to announce the settlement building during Biden’s visit was “suspicious” but followed a trend of similar announcements.
“Every time there is a high-profile visit by a U.S. official, Israel announces more settlements,” he said. “One cannot help but conclude that Israel is sending a message here. They are telling America, ‘Come talk, but we will do things our way. We will continue to build and we will do it in your face.’ ” The official asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the news media.
VP Biden Condemns Israel’s Plans For New Settlements
March 09, 2010
March 09, 2010 BBC World NewsVodpod videos no longer available.