The “settlement” row between Israel and Washington shows no sign of abating after a senior political advisor to the US president weighed in with his take on the crisis.
David Axelrod said the timing of the Israeli announcement to build settler homes in disputed East Jerusalem was distressing.
“What happened there was an affront,” Axelrod said. “It was an insult but that is not the most important thing. What it did was it made more difficult a very difficult process. We’ve just gotten proximity, so-called proximity talks going between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and this seemed calculated to undermine that.”
Israel wants to build 1600 homes in Ramat Shlomo. The international community considers the land as occupied territory and any Israeli there construction, illegal.
The disclosure of the plans embarrassed US Vice-president Joe Biden who was on a mission to the region to persuade the Palestinians to hold indirect peace talks.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced regret over the incident following a stinging rebuke from the White House but has not said he’ll cancel the project.
The Palestinians have put the start of the indirect talks on hold and are threatening to pull out all together.