Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Israel OKs 1,600 new homes in east Jerusalem

clipped from news.yahoo.com

JERUSALEM – Israel approved the construction of 1,600 new homes for Jews in disputed east Jerusalem on Tuesday — a move that immediately clouded a visit by Vice President Joe Biden aimed at repairing strained ties and kickstarting Mideast peace talks.

The Interior Ministry announced the construction plans just as Biden was wrapping up a series of warm meetings with Israeli leaders. There was no immediate reaction from the vice president.

U.S Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hand  with Israel's Prime Minister

Relations between Israel and the Obama administration have been chilly precisely because of the settlement issue. The U.S., like the Palestinians and the rest of the international community, believe that Israeli settlements built on lands claimed by the Palestinians undermine peace prospects, and President Obama has been more outspoken on the issue than his predecessors.

But Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move was destroying trust needed to go forward with the new round of indirect peace talks
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