Joe Biden says Israeli settlement move ‘undermines trust’

Times of India

JERUSALEM: Joe Biden on Tuesday condemned Israel’s plans to build 1,600 new settlement homes in east Jerusalem, a move announced as the US vice president met Israeli leaders to revive peace efforts.

“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem,” Biden said in a statement.

“The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.”

Israel’s interior ministry said earlier it approved construction of 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish settlement in the mainly Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem.

The controversial move infuriated the Palestinians, who consider settlements to be a major hurdle in long-hobbled attempts to reach a peace accord, and who want occupied east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state.

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