Biden, Netanyahu at Odds about Ramat Shlomo
US Vice President speaks in Tel Aviv, addresses settlement expansion.
Israel has announced it will be building 1,600 new homes in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo. US Vice President Joe Biden is currently in Israel to discuss the matter, as well as the peace process, though he apparently left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waiting 90 minutes for an official dinner meeting.
This was taken as a sign of dissatisfaction with Israel’s announcement , having been made at a critical stage in the peace process. Ultimately, however, the US appears to have agreed with Netanyahu’s newer formula.
The plan states that building at Ramat Shlomo will not actually begin for another few years. Biden spoke in Tel Aviv yesterday emphasizing this, and adding that peace negotiations should begin immediately.
Biden also touched on other topics, including the division of Jerusalem, control of holy sites, and what will become of Palestinian refugees when the final border between Israel and Palestine is drawn.
Biden reiterated in his speech that he essentially condemns Israel’s decision to build at Ramat Shlomo immediately, however he spoke in a warm, non-confrontational manner, adding that he has been a friend of Israel for the past 37 years.
Regarding Iran, Biden stated that he hopes diplomacy and UN sanctions will take precedence over any thought of military action.
Palestinians have said that it will be difficult for them to continue with the peace process until the plan to build at Ramat Shlomo is cancelled. They did, however, appear pleased that Israel was seemingly at odds with the US on this matter.
Palestine must now decide if they intend to go along with Netanyahu’s proposals, which may further delay peace talks.