Axelrod: Israel Settlement Approval an ‘Affront’; ‘Insult’

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Mar 14, 2010 10:24am

The President’s top adviser David Axelrod told me that approval of new housing units by Israel in the Arab section of Jerusalem during Vice President Biden’s trip there last week was an “affront” and an “insult”.   “What it did was it made more difficult a very difficult process,” Axelrod said in my “This Week” interview.  Axelrod added that the move “seemed calculated to undermine” the so-called proximity talks going on between the Palestinians and the Israelis.   

Axelrod said a clear message was delivered to Israel over the flap.  “Israel is a strong and special ally.  The bonds run deep.  But for just that very reason, this was not the right way to behave.  That was expressed by the secretary of state, as well as the vice president.  I am not going to discuss what diplomatic talks we've had underneath that, but I think the Israelis understand clearly why we were upset and what, you know, what we want moving forward.”

The issue, Axelrod said, is a “flare point throughout the region” and puts U.S. interests at risk.  “It is important for our own security that we move forward and resolve this very difficult issue,” Axelrod said.

Watch video HERE:

Read full exchange HERE:

TAPPER:  All right, last question.  Vice President Biden went to Israel this week and he was greeted by a slap in the face, the announcement by the Israeli government of the approval of new housing units in an Arab section of Jerusalem.  President Obama was said to be very upset about it.  Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton made very strong comments about it.  Will there be any consequences, tangible consequences beyond the tough talk?  And does Israel's intransigence on the housing issue put the lives of U.S. troops at risk?

AXELROD:  Well, look, what happened there was an affront.  It was an insult, but that's not the most important thing.  What it did was it made more difficult a very difficult process.  We've just gotten proximity, so-called proximity talks going between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and this seemed calculated to undermine that, and that was — that was distressing to everyone who is promoting the idea of peace — and security in the region. 

Israel is a strong and special ally.  The bonds run deep.  But for just that very reason, this was not the right way to behave.  That was expressed by the secretary of state, as well as the vice president.  I am not going to discuss what diplomatic talks we've had underneath that, but I think the Israelis understand clearly why we were upset and what, you know, what we want moving forward.

TAPPER:  I hate to say this, but yes or no, David, does the intransigence of the Israeli government on the housing issue, yes or no, does it put U.S. troops lives at risk?

AXELROD:  I believe that that region and that issue is a flare point throughout the region, and so I'm not going to put it in those terms.  But I do believe that it is absolutely imperative, not just for the security of Israel and the Palestinian people, who were, remember, at war just a year ago, but it is important for our own security that we move forward and resolve this very difficult issue.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus