As you can imagine, Slo-Jo's basic advice to the Israelis was to just sit there and wait for those US sanctions to take effect over the coming months, something I'm sure Netanyahu took with the seriousness it merited, considering the source.
And then, Biden decided to make an announcement about Israel's approval of 1,600 new housing units for young families in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo..a place, by the way that Netanyahu explicitly stated was not included in any temporary settlement freeze. And he was willing to hold up a scheduled dinner with Netanyahu for an hour and a half to do it.
Here's what Biden had to say:
I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.
We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them. This announcement underscores the need to get negotiations under way that can resolve all the outstanding issues of the conflict. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians and for Jews, Muslims and Christians. We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world. Unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations on permanent status issues.
As George Mitchell said in announcing the proximity talks, "we encourage the parties and all concerned to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.
I love the bit about how 'unilateral action by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations.' Has the Obama Administration ever asked the Palestinians not to build anywhere?
Just to show how joined at the hip the Obama Administration is with the Palestinians, compare Slo-Jo's remarks with Saeb Erekat's statement:
"With such an announcement, how can you build trust? This is destroying our efforts to work with Mr. Mitchell," Erekat said. "It's a really disastrous situation. I hope that this will be an eye-opener for all in the international community about the need to have the Israeli government stop such futile exercises."
This is exactly why Netanyahu's offer of a temporary construction freeze in Judea and Samaria ( AKA the West Bank) was such a bad idea. What the Obama Administration and the Palestinians want is all of Judea and Samaria, half of Jerusalem and whatever else they can steal,and they want it all judenrein. And that's just for starters.
Ramat Shlomo is a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem that already has more than 20,000 residents, and it's always been a Jewish neighborhood. Th ep[lans fo rth e1600 new homes go back three years , and even Abbas agreed
with Ehud Olmert back in 2008 that it would remain part of Israel in any future settlement. But Abbas and the Pals have become emboldened by who's in the White house these days.
It seems the US cares more about denying Jews their religious sites and the right to build homes than it does about the Palestinians building facilities with our money honoring terrorists who've killed Americans.