Peace in Pieces
Secretary Clinton has warned Israel of faltering relations over its gutsy announcement to build new settlements in Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Biden. "In a telephone call to Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday, Clinton expressed frustration over Israel's announcement on Tuesday to build new settlements on Palestinian land. PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, said Clinton told Netanyahu the announcement was a 'deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship ... and had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process'. 'The secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States' strong commitment to Israel's security,' Crowley said. He said Clinton made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process. Asked if the tone of the call was angry, Crowley said 'frustration would be a better term'. Clinton's rebuke of Netanyahu came at the end of a week of tense exchanges between the US and Israel, after the latter announced it was building 1,600 new settler homes in an area of the occupied West Bank. The announcement infuriated the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership, which threatened to pull out of US-brokered indirect "proximity" talks with Israel that Washington hoped would be the first step toward relaunching full peace negotiations after more than a year."