Israel orders inquiry into Biden visit upset: official



JERUSALEM- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an inquiry Saturday into why a contested settlement plan was announced during a landmark visit by US Vice President Joe Biden, a spokesman said.
"The prime minister has decided to create a committee bringing together ministry directors to examine what happened during vice-president Biden's visit and lay down rules to ensure such incidents are not repeated in future," a government spokesman said.



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The Israeli interior ministry announced during Biden's visit Tuesday that 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers would be built in predominantly Arab east Jerusalem, triggering fury among Arab and Palestinian leaders.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier issued a unusually stern rebuke to Netanyahu over the announcement, saying it sent a "deeply negative signal" about Israel's ties to its top ally.
In an interview with CNN, she added that its timing -- during Biden's closely-watched visit -- was "insulting."
Clinton's criticism was backed by the Middle East Quartet, made up of the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations.
Netanyahu has apologised for the timing of the settlement announcement.
The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state.
Israel, which seized the sector in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community, considers the Holy City its eternal and indivisible capital.
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Saturday, March 13th 2010
AFP
           


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