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Israel apologizes for Biden snub, but not for settlement plans

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke of a
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke of a
AP Photo/Debbie Hill, Pool

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai officially apologized for the "distress caused" to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden by the announcement of new settlement construction plans during Biden's March 9, 2010 visit to Israel, according to TIME.

Biden had spent much of the day assuring of the closeness and unity of relations and goals between Israel and the United States, saying that Israel had Washington's unconditional support and mentioned plans to make the U.S. an intermediary in "indirect" peace talks.

Meanwhile, Israel's Interior Ministry announced it would build 1,600 new homes for settlers in East Jerusalem.

Biden expressed displeasure, Israel apologizes...

Biden said the timing of the settlement announcement was an embarrassment to his and his government's credibility in the Mideast peace process. He expressed his immediate displeasure by making Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wait for him to arrive 90 minutes late at a formal state dinner, a major insult in diplomatic terms, according to TIME.

Yishai said the timing of the announcement was no more than a coincidence and was not meant to take advantage of the U.S. visit or support.

"If I'd have known," said Yishai, "I would have postponed the authorization by a week or two, since we had no intention of provoking anyone."

Israel will go through with settlement construction plans

Yishai did not, however, apologize or retract the plans to construct the new settlement housing. Israel's government, particularly with Netanyahu at its helm, has been uncompromising about its settlement of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Despite international pressure, the Israelis have continued to claim the right to expand existing settlements, if not build new outposts, in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Biden said the Israeli declaration "undermined the trust we need right now" to resume peace talks that have been stalled in part due to Israel's recalcitrance.

Palestinians frustrated, angry over Israel's settlement policy

The Palestinians also condemned the Israeli announcement, citing it as evidence that Israel will not be willing to come to the negotiating table ready to compromise.

Israel's actions and policies towards the occupied Palestinian territories have been a major stumbling block for the peace process, with settlement expansions being a primary issue for Palestinian negotiators. In 2009, the Netanyahu government declared that a freeze on settlement construction permits would be lifted and legal housing units for settlers could begin again.

The West Bank and East Jerusalem form the bulk of territory Israel occupied during the 1967 Six-Day War, but neither the Palestinians nor the greater international community support the legality of Israel's claims to those areas.

Jerusalem's importance for future peace talks

In particular, the Palestinians and their supporters amongst the Arab states demand the return to Palestinian control of East Jerusalem. No Palestinian or Arab leader would be able to survive politically if they accepted Israeli control over the whole of Jerusalem.

Israeli moves to expand and solidify its grip on East Jerusalem and other existing settlement areas in the West Bank may hamper the peace efforts. Furthermore, the Biden-settlement debacle was only the most recent indicator of tension between the U.S. and Israeli governments.

Comments

  • RSBL 4 years ago

    We need to stop sending the checks to Israel IMMEDIATELY. They are an apartheid state, terrorists, ethnic cleansers, and liars. Biden is a dog and pony show, he grovels to Israel so much, he needs to be deported to there. Israel has broken more international laws, UN mandates, committed warcrimes, and helped carry out 9/11. To hell with Israhell. Let them burn and squirm. Send over all the treasonist punks in our government that support them.

  • RSBL 4 years ago

    Isarel is also in violation of the NNPT, and Iran is not, the US is in violation by supporting Israel who HAS nuclear weapons. Our polititions are violating the Logan act by going over there to get their marching orders, the israelis are infiltrating our government through aipac, a spy ring in the US. Their spies keep being let go by our treasonist polititions. Why is it that Isreal is on out governments top of the list for priorities, like giving them money while our own people starve...because our polititions are bought by the very tax money going into Israels hands from them in the first place...money luandering!!! DUMP ISRAHELL!!!!

  • RSBL 4 years ago

    One more thing...apology not accepted, and F$#@ off Israhell.

  • RSBL 4 years ago

    "Israel will go through with settlement construction plans"

    Stop sending the check to these criminals.