Israeli-U.S. Relations 'At Their Worst for 35 Years'

Article excerpt

Byline: Mail Foreign Service

RELATIONS between the U.S. and Israel have sunk to their lowest point in 35 years, derailing hopes for peace in the Middle East.

Israel's ambassador to the U.S. admitted that the crisis was real and dismissed attempts to play down the diplomatic row.

Michael Oren said: 'Israel's ties with the United States are in their worst crisis since 1975 - a crisis of historic proportions.' His remarks reflect the Obama administration's fury at Israel's announcement last week that it was building 1,600 new homes for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem.

The plan was unveiled in the middle of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's peace-making trip to Israel. Mr Biden denounced the move and in unusually blunt language, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israel's behaviour 'insulting'.

Despite apologising for the timing of the announcement, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defied U.S. demands to shelve the settlement expansion plan.

Yesterday, he even defended the saying that the construction of homes for Jews in the city's eastern sector 'in no way' hurts Palestinians. …