Heavily criticised revelations about an east Jerusalem building plan announced during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel have been dismissed by officials as “bad timing.” "The approval is a purely technical matter and we have no intention of insulting or seeking a confrontation with the US vice president," Interior Minister Eli Yishai told the Army Radio. “The announcement cast a pall Tuesday night over the Biden's visit, with the vice president squarely condemning the move, and a statement from Barak's office said the publication at this current time was ‘damaging’ to negotiations with the Palestinians, which it called ‘a vital Israeli interest.’ Defense Ministry officials added in the statement that Israel had acted for many months to build trust between the two sides in order to launch negotiations, and that ‘our practical steps should take this into consideration.’ The plan calls for the southern and eastern expansion of Ramat Shlomo, a predominately haredi enclave that borders the Arab Shuafat neighborhood, and includes the upgrade of a road that leads into the neighborhood. The government’s 10-month moratorium on housing starts in the settlements does not apply to Jerusalem.”