Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel and the Palestinians: How to Break the Cycle of Violence?

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Somalia : Al Shebab attack on presidential palace

Read more

FOCUS

Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system?

Read more

ENCORE!

How a comedy dud became one of France's biggest box office hits

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya: Clashes at anti-government rally in Nairobi

Read more

WEB NEWS

ISIS leader challenged over expensive-looking wristwatch

Read more

  • Israeli airstrikes continue in Gaza as rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Alps Murder wife had ex-husband who died on same day

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Brazil players should never wear 'sacred uniform' again, press says

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    Read more

  • Ukraine imposes new conditions on peace talks with pro-Russia rebels

    Read more

  • Sarkozy's UMP party 'almost €80 million in debt'

    Read more

Americas

Biden says Israeli settlement plan undermines peace efforts

©

Video by William EDWARDS

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-11

US Vice President Joe Biden has criticised Israeli plans to build 1,600 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem in a statement following talks with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

REUTERS -  U.S. Vice President Joe Biden publicly condemned on Wednesday Israel's new plan to build 1,600 homes for Jewish settlers, saying on a West Bank visit the project undermined Washington's peace efforts.
 
"It is incumbent on both parties to build an atmosphere of support for negotiations and not to complicate them," Biden said in a media statement alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
 
"Yesterday the decision by the Israeli government to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem undermines that very trust, the trust that we need right now in order to begin ... profitable negotiations," Biden said.
 
In Jerusalem, an Israeli cabinet minister apologised for what he termed "real embarrassment" caused to Biden by the news on Tuesday that Israel would erect the housing units in an area of the West Bank it annexed to the holy city.
 
"The new settlements reinforce fears that Israelis are not serious about peace talks"
Abbas called on Israel to reverse its decision, but in his remarks in Ramallah gave no indication that indirect peace talks, agreed by Palestinian and Israeli leaders after U.S. mediation, would not proceed.
 
Biden said the United States would hold both sides accountable for any statements or actions "that inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of talks, as this decision did."
 
No date, venue or agenda has been set for the negotiations that would mark a revival of talks suspended since December 2008. The Arab League in Cairo, which last week endorsed a four-month framework for the talks, called an urgent meeting of a committee overseeing the process, for later on Wednesday.
 
Biden's public remarks on the issue followed a written statement of condemnation that he issued on Tuesday.
 

Security

 
Israel's announcement of the project clouded a visit by the vice president that had b
een focused on reassuring Israelis that President Barack Obama was committed to their security in the face of a possible Iranian nuclear threat.
 
"This is a moment of great challenge to the effort by the United States to get the political process going again," Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said at a meeting with Biden.
 
Aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had been blindsided by the project's announcement by the Interior Ministry, run by Shas, an ultraorthodox, nationalist party that is a key member of his governing coalition.
 
Netanyahu ordered in November a 10-month halt to new housing starts in West Bank settlements but exempted those Israel considers part of Jerusalem and projects for Jewish homes in the eastern sector of the city captured in 1967.
 
Abbas had demanded a total settlement freeze as a condition for re-engaging with Israel. Palestinians say settlements will deny them a viable state, which they hope to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
 
"Messages have been sent to Biden and the Americans that there was no intention to undermine him," a senior Israeli official said. "We were genuinely surprised, just as surprised as the Americans."
 
Netanyahu took no steps to reverse the decision to build in Ramat Shlomo, a religious Jewish settlement. Israel considers all of Jerusalem its indivisible and eternal capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
 
Shas's promotion of the plan was an indication to the Obama administration of the problems Netanyahu would face within his government should he make bold moves, as Washington has demanded, towards a land-for-peace deal with Palestinians.

Date created : 2010-03-10

  • ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

    Israeli minister slams timing of settlement announcement

    Read more

  • ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

    Biden confirms Washington will uphold ‘Israeli security’

    Read more

  • ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

    Glossary of the Mideast conflict

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)