Monday, March 15, 2010

When Israel went too far

Announcing a decision to build 1600 Jewish-only apartments in East Jerusalem only two days after the Palestinian Liberation Organization had reluctantly decided to rejoin U.S-backed and mediated indirect negotiations will henceforth be known as the day Israel went too far.

Vice President Joe Biden to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu:

"I condemn the decision of the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The announcement is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions I've had here in Israel. This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

"It was insulting. And it was insulting not just to the vice president, who certainly didn't deserve that. He was there with a very clear message of our commitment to the peace process in solidarity with the Israeli people. But it was an insult to the United States. This was a deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship and had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process."

P.J. Crowley, State Department spokesperson:

"[Hillary Clinton] made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process."

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu:

"There was a regrettable incident here, that occurred innocently."

Israeli Ambassador to the the United States Michael Oren:

"The crisis was very serious and we are facing a very difficult period in relations. Israel's ties with the U.S. are in the most serious crisis since 1975."

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