Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Insulted" by Israel, U.S. scrambles to save talks

"I'll take how can we pi$$ off another strategic ally for $2000 Alex."
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel's relationship with the United States, a defining feature of the troubled Middle East, was under severe strain as diplomats scrambled on Saturday to save newborn U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians.

A senior U.S. official predicted "a dicey period here in the next couple days to a couple of weeks" as Palestinians demanded the reversal of a new Israeli settlement plan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, which includes pro-settler parties, reacts to unusually blunt criticism from Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israel's behavior "insulting" after it approved 1,600 new homes last week at a settlement in the Jerusalem area on the very day Vice President Joe Biden was there to set a seal on relaunched negotiations.

Biden told Reuters on Friday he believed Netanyahu was

sincere in seeking a deal to give the Palestinians a state and that the premier understood that Israel had "no alternative."

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