Israel signaled it won't halt its building plans in the disputed territory of east Jerusalem, deepening a rift with the U.S. that threatens efforts to contain Iran and other American security goals in the Middle East.
Officials on both sides fear relations between the two allies are at their worst point in decades, after Israel scuttled hope for a new round of peace talks by announcing new settlement plans last week during a visit by Vice President Joseph Biden. That led to an extraordinary public rebuke of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Netanyahu apologized for the timing, but he has declined to retract the plans for the settlements and others that have become among the biggest obstacles to peace talks. On Monday, a leading member of Mr. Netanyahu's Likud party said the prime minister told members in a closed-door session that Israel wouldn't bow to pressure and reverse course on its planned 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem.
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Filed under: * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Middle East Iran Israel The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle
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