Know More About Palestine

Thursday March 18, 2010 7:49 AM (EST+7)
Obama says Israel settlement plans not helpful for peace

Read more: Barack Obama, US policy, US foreign policy, Joe Biden, settlements

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday Israeli plans to build more homes near East Jerusalem were not helpful for the Middle East peace process, but he said the issue had not led to a crisis with one of the United States' closest allies.

Israel's one of our closest allies, and we and the Israeli people have a special bond that's not going to go away, Obama said in an interview on Fox News Channel's Special Report with Bret Baier.

But friends are going to disagree sometimes, Obama said.

Israel touched off a spat with the Obama administration last week when it announced during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden that it planned to build 1,600 more homes for Jews near East Jerusalem, angering Palestinians.

Israel regards all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector captured 43 years ago, as its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of the state they hope to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Obama said in the interview that he had sent Biden to the region at a moment when the United States was trying to restart talks between Israelis and the Palestinians.

I specifically sent Vice President Biden to Israel to send a message of support and reassurance about my belief that Israel's security is sacrosanct and that we have a host of shared interests, Obama said.

There is a disagreement in terms of how we can move this peace process forward, he added.

Israel's Interior Ministry gave approval for the 1,600 new homes hours after Biden spoke about Obama's commitment to Israel's security in the face of what both countries see as threats from Iran.

The actions that were taken by the interior minister in Israel weren't helpful to that process. Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu acknowledged as much and apologized for it, Obama said.

What we need right now is both sides to recognize that it is in their interests to move this peace process forward, Obama said. (Reporting by Jeff Mason and Deborah Charles; editing by Mohammad Zargham)







Al-Madaris St. (same building as
MBC and al-Arabiya studios)
First Floor, Al-Bireh
PO Box 4045, Ramallah
PO Box 25047, Jerusalem 97300
Phone: ++972-2-297-6555
Fax: ++972-2-297-6555
Log in to My JMCC
 or Sign Up
Forgot your password?Close
Front Page
My Comments Photo of the Day
Calendar Hot Spot(for journalists)
Audio of the Day Video of the Day
Most Popular Historical Timeline
Noticeboard Blogs
My Tags Help Desk
User Info
First Name
Last Name
My Tags 
I am a
After signing up,you will receive
an automatically
generated password in your
Recover Password
Submit Your Email
 or Sign Up