Hillary Clinton Slams Netanyahu, Israel on East Jerusalem

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netanyahuSecretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu this afternoon that his government sent a “deeply negative signal” by taking steps which undermined renewed Middle East peace talks. Clinton telephoned Netanyahu and expressed frustration over Israel’s announcement on Tuesday of new settlement construction, a move that deeply embarrassed visiting UVice President Joe Biden and imperiled U.S. plans to launch indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton told Netanyahu the announcement was a “deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship … and had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process.”

“The secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security,” Crowley said.

“She 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,” he said.

The “quartet” of Middle East peace mediators — the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — today issued its own condemnation of the settlement plan and said it would assess the situation at a previously scheduled meeting in Moscow next week.

“The Quartet has agreed to closely monitor developments in Jerusalem and to keep under consideration additional steps that may be required to address the situation on the ground,” the group said in a statement, without providing further details.

Clinton’s rebuke of Netanyahu capped a week of tense exchanges between the United States and Israel, which on Tuesday announced it was building 1,600 new settler homes in an area of the occupied West Bank it annexed to Yerushalayim.

The announcement infuriated the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership, which threatened to pull out of U.S.-brokered indirect “proximity” talks with Israel that Washington hoped would be the first step toward relaunching full peace negotiations after more than a year.

It also embarrassed Biden, who repeated calls for talks despite Palestinian demands that Israel first cancel the settlement project.

Crowley said U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell and Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman had made numerous calls to regional leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and underscored continued commitment to the plans for the indirect talks.

Mitchell is due to return to the region next week and U.S. officials hope the indirect talks might begin then.

Israel has so far balked at Palestinian demands that the indirect phase include talk of so-called “final status issues” including the delineation of borders, the fate of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem.

The Obama administration wants indirect talks to cover issues of “consequence” but has yet to spell out publicly what that would entail.

Palestinians have called the settlement announcement a deliberate attempt by Netanyahu to sabotage peace talks in which he could come under pressure to trade land for a deal.

Netanyahu has said he did not know the announcement was coming and castigated his interior minister, while noting that nothing would actually be built in the area for years.

But his relationship with the Obama administration was already under heavy strain, and Clinton made clear that Washington would hold him responsible.

“We accept what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said, but by the same token he is the head of the Israeli government and ultimately is responsible for the actions of that government,” Crowley said.

Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank, said the Biden visit and the settlement issue might usher in a new dynamic in the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Perhaps America will present Israel with a real choice and with consequences for recalcitrance. Thus far, that has not been the case,” he wrote in a blog for Foreign Policy magazine’s website.

{Agencies/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. We are in gulus, and double standards are the official policy of washington these days. everyones knows that obama is in touch with his islamic views and his pastor mr wright is getting alot alot of nachas these days, and fact remains that while israeles demise is constantly under discussion and china and russia are sitting on the sidelines but when it comes to the poor palestinian harmless people oh everyone wakes up! and when mr abas considers naming a street after a arch terrorist even when mr biden is there oh thats not really an issue just polluting some kids with the hatred in their education oh no big deal once peace is achieved everything will magically disappear. how cynical how sickening disheartening can it get? but facts remain that the medinah is not the hischalta digula and the entire myth is really silly we are still hated by the entire world because thats what Hashem wants cuz we are in gulus. but when mashiach comes oh are those reshuim going to be held accountable. we will have the last laugh thats for certain.

  2. “Netanyahu has said he did not know the announcement was coming and castigated his interior minister, while noting that nothing would actually be built in the area for years.”

    So the whole building thing was totally not even relevant!!!!

    So why in the world did the interior minister make this announcement????

    It accomplished absolutely nothing — except to make severe friction with the American government!!

    Can’t these people have at least a little bit of sensitive decency?? The Vice President of the United States made a special trip to come to Israel. Now, of course, we know how Vice President Biden has prided himself on how, for many years, he has each day commuted from his home in Delaware to the city of Washington. But the trip from North America to the Holy Land — even with modern jet aircraft — is not exactly a 35 minute “bus ride”!!

    So Vice President Biden made this very long 10 hour plus flight to come to Eretz Yisroel — a land that he says that “he loves.” A good major part of the purpose of the trip was to smooth over all the friction and put for the media a good bunch of political smiles at the news conferences!

    So obviously, now was NOT the time to do something that was controversial!!

  3. (continuation of previous comment)

    Instead, what all the Israeli officials should have been FULLY busy doing was to profusely thank Vice President Biden for making the trip and to make sure that the media got a constant supply of photographs and handshakes!!

  4. (correction in previous comment)

    Sorry for the typing error! The end of that sentence should read:

    ” . . . and to make sure that the media got a constant supply of photographs of smiles and handshakes!!”

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