March 15th, 2010
08:01 AM ET
12 years ago

Report: Israel-U.S. ties at worst in 35 years

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week called Israel’s announcement that it would begin construction on new settlements in East Jerusalem ‘insulting’ to the United States."]Jerusalem (CNN) - Israel's ties with the United States are at their worst in 35 years, the country's top envoy to the United States was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.

Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Oren made the remarks in a conference call to the country's consuls-general Saturday night, the Haaretz newspaper said.

His comments came as the United States harshly criticized Israel for announcing new settlement construction in disputed East Jerusalem territory while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set up a team to investigate the timing of the announcement, which U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called "insulting" to her country.

According to Haaretz, Clinton also made a list of demands to smooth over relationships.

Among them was a reversal of Israel's decision to clear way for 1,600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in largely Arab East Jerusalem.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, could not confirm whether Clinton presented Israel with a set of demands.

Netanyahu was focused on trying to "calm things down," Regev said.

The Israeli announcement of construction in Ramat Shlomo came during Biden's visit last week. It complicated U.S. efforts to set up so-called proximity talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, the latest attempt to nudge the two sides back toward talking directly.

Biden condemned the decision, calling it "a step that undermines the trust we need right now."

- CNN's Kevin Flower contributed to this report

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Israel • Middle East
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Debbie from AZ

    The announcement of 1,600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood makes it look like Israel is not really interested in a lasting peace for the area. They seem to be negotiating in bad faith.

    March 15, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Dano

    Isreal MUST stop new construction in the disputed areas if they ever expect a peace agreement with the Palistineans. The reason for all the tension in the Middle East, hence the exporting of terrorism to other areas of the world, is this unresolved dispute. Most of the Arab world sees the West as siding with Isreal so it's easy to find new recruits to fight against them. It's past time for the USA to demand some concessions from Isreal, such as honoring past agreements, if this conflict is expected to be resolved.

    March 15, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Ben in Texas

    If our relations with Israel are sour, all I can say is, "Good!" Our dealings with Israel have cost us dearly over the years. These relations consist mostly in Israel treating the Palestinians outrageously, and the U.S. looking the other direction.

    We have our relations with Israel to thank for our involvement in 2 wars, Islamic terrorism, and terrible tension with most of the middle east. U.S. dealings with Israel have been an unmitigated disaster for this country, and a huge subsidy for Israel and it's genocidal policies.

    It's time we put Israel on a very short leash. We should impose sanctions on them and immediately cut off military and financial support.

    March 15, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Mark

    Thanks to Obama we are trying to hold hands with our enemies not allies.

    March 15, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. GI Joe

    We need to cut off all funding to Israel until an agreement is reached.

    Why do we keep borrowing from China to help Israel? They keep getting us into trouble with arab countries. WHY?

    March 15, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Bill or Vin from Philly

    Israel is nothing but a welfare state of the U.S. they do nothing to help this country , put our troops in danger and some have died to make the middle east safer for them , and then they have the arrogance to upstage our vice President,,,,, it's time to cut the purse strings and let them do it on there own

    March 15, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. proud mother and sister of a soldier

    The current administration has not been a friend to Isreal and does not understand the significance of their support. How can Isreal look kindly upon a WH that goes to the middle east and makes comments such as Obama did? How can they trust a man with Muslim roots and his track record? During an October trip to eastern Europe andTurkey, the common theme about Obama was distrust and highly unfavorable. I wish the press would talk to the world and report the truth!

    March 15, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. ran

    As long as Netanyahu remains PM no peace will happen.

    March 15, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Chris

    The Israllies are really becoming very arrogrant. It is time for all Nations to put them back in line!! They are constantly hiding behind the Religion thing and if you ask me that is so OLD!! No one religion is better than the other!! The US needs to stop supporting Israel genociede!!

    March 15, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. donttreadonme

    “We’ve restored America’s standing in the world” Yeah right!

    March 15, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    It takes political courage for an American politician to stand up to Israel–or Cuba.

    March 15, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Expat American

    When all is said and done, at the end of the day Israel will go forward with the construction of the housing units; and the United States will give Israel another billion dollar check along with some brand new blackhawks and missiles (to counter the rocks thrown at them)....and peace in the Middle East will be delayed another 250 years.

    Business as usual.

    March 15, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. tom

    May God have mercy on each one of us !

    March 15, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Capt. Snarky

    When did Israel become our enemy? And when did Hamas become our friend? I could have sworn it was the Palestinians who were dancing in the street after 9/11, No?

    March 15, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Joseph

    Well, it is not surprising at all, given that you have an Obama Administration with a biased Palestinian policies, which are different from those previous administrations for last 35 years. At the same time, that is what you get after you consistently helped to elect Obama and other Democrats. Don't forget that between 70% to 90% of Jewish population are liberals or tend to be liberals, who have been the backrock of modern democratic Party. Thick twice when you cast your votes for any democrats next times.

    March 15, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. sine

    There will never be peace in the middle east as long as the U.S keeps babying Israel!!! They need to hear the tough truth ...and the tough truth is their ARROGANT. They know they have the U.S on their knees and they could do as they please. Not only does the U.S need to continue with the tough talk ....some tough actions have to follow. You can't favor one country and all their bulldog ways and not expect other countries to get peeved!!! GET IT TOGETHER AND DO THE RIGHT THING VS. THE POLITICALLY EXPEDIENT THING.

    March 15, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Marc

    To all those that think that Israel is right or has the right to do what he did.

    There are those two neighbors who doesn't get along very well. You decide, due to your good relationship with one of them, to mediate their problem but it's a hard work because if it's not one of the neighbors that tries to undermine your efforts then it's the other, or both at the same time.
    But you keep trying. Then you decide to talk with them and see if you can make them sit at the same table for a summit, and exactly when you are trying that the neighbor with which you have a good relationship decides to provoke the other AND you.
    Would you feel happy about this neighbors' actions?

    March 15, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. dave

    To Israel: Whaaaah!!!!! You receive billions in our taxpayer money every year in support of your country and then thumb your nose at us every time we want you to make even the slightest bit of reconciliation with your neighbors. This whole game gets annoying after a while.

    Last week's announcement was another example of your arrogance. Netanyahu is not concerned with "calming things down" unless we stand there and say we are cutting off the money flow.

    March 15, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. jenn, philadelphia

    I wonder why. It couldn't be because this Administration hasn't passed up any chance to trash Israel? They have been talking negative about Israel ever since they go into office. Now, when it something that needs to be addressed, they can only make the problem worse. When the bombs stop coming from Gaza and the West Bank, then Israel should start negotiations. Until then, I think they should build a bigger and longer wall.

    March 15, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Dar

    Poor Biden, just cant keep is dumb mouth shut

    March 15, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. Barbara Independent in NY

    It's starting to look as if Israel doesn't really want peace in the Middle East. After all, if the area was peaceful, the U.S. government wouldn't need to send so much money to that area. By the way, there are several counties in upstate NY that have dealt with and are dealing with the "appropriation " of property by some Orthodox Jewish sects.

    March 15, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. micki

    can someone explain this to me. ??
    as stated by president osama, i mean obama !

    "Let me be clear," Senator Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. "Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper. But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized, and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

    so whats the problem ???

    March 15, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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