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'We are responsible for our fate.' Barak Photo: Gil Yohanan
'We are responsible for our fate.' Barak Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

Barak: Biden fiasco not intentional but damaging

Amid crisis over Israel's plan to build in east Jerusalem, defense minister says ties with US 'vital to our security'; Peres tries to ease tension

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 03.14.10, 18:57 / Israel News

"The incident during (Joe) Biden's visit was not intentional, but was nonetheless unnecessary and damaging," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday in reference to the crisis between the US and Israel over the plan to build 1,600 housing units in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, which was announced while the American vice president was in Israel to advance the so-called "proximity talks" with the Palestinians.

 

"Our relationship with the Americans is an important part of our security," Barak told a Labor faction meeting in Tel Aviv.

 

"While we are responsible for our fate, this close relationship obliges us to act in a proper manner," he said.

 

Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was rebuked by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the construction plan, opened the weekly cabinet by saying, "We have already seen crises and what we need is composure. There was an unfortunate incident here which should not have taken place. I asked the ministers not to talk about it. The United States and Israel have joint interests, but we will act in accordance with the State of Israel's interests."

 

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told the Labor meeting that "the more Bibi (Netanyahu) is reprimanded, the more the people turn Right."

 

"There is no substitute for the Labor party, it's the best home. Our party is strong and not only will it regain power, but it will have its say," according to the minister.

 

Addressing the uproar over Israel's announcement, President Shimon Peres told a Swiss television station Sunday that Israel was determined to advance serious negotiations with the Palestinians that will lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the "two states for two peoples" paradigm.

 

Peres spoke with a number of Israeli and American officials over the weekend in an attempt to calm the situation. 

 

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