Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak has slammed the poor timing of his colleague's announcement on renewing settler presence in East Jerusalem. Barak's statement stopped short of condemning the announcement, however.
AFP - Israel's defence ministry on Wednesday blasted an announcement that 1,600 new settlers homes would be built in east Jerusalem, which coincided with a visit by the US vice president aimed at boosting new peace talks.
"The entourage of Defence Minister Ehud Barak expresses its anger after the unwarranted announcement which affects peace negotiations with the Palestinians -- negotiations of the highest interest for Israel," his office said in a statement.
"Sources in the defence ministry underline that Israel has acted for long months to create trust between the parties so that negotiations can start, and it would be well-advised to take this into account," the statement said.
Tuesday's announcement by the Israeli interior ministry angered visiting US Vice President Joe Biden.
"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," Biden said on Tuesday night.
The Israeli decision also infuriated the Palestinians, who consider settlements to be a major hurdle to reach peace and want occupied east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state.
Date created : 2010-03-10