Friday, March 12, 2010

Clinton screams at Netayahu on J'elm housing announcement

(Ynet).Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday delivered a stinging rebuke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his government's announcement this week of new Jewish housing in east Jerusalem.

The State Department said Clinton spoke to Netanyahu by phone to express US frustration with Tuesday's announcement that cast a pall over a visit to Israel by Vice President Joe Biden. A State Department spokesman said the Israeli move has endangered indirect peace talks with the Palestinians that the Obama administration had announced just a day earlier.

Clinton told Netanyahu that Israel's plan to build 1,600 new homes in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood was "a deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice president's trip," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told a news briefing.

The harsh criticism of America's closest Mideast ally and questions about its commitment to the US-Israeli relationship followed equally blunt condemnation of the housing announcement from the White House and Biden himself.