Gee, things are tough in the Middle East when Murdoch’s Australian sounds depressed. Maybe, just maybe, more corporate journalists based in Israel will start to write about the reasons for the bleakness; fundamentalist Jews:
The Middle East peace process was in tatters last night and Israel’s coalition government faced crisis after it announced a huge new housing development in the Arab area of East Jerusalem.
Israeli Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon said the Labour Party was considering quitting the coalition government, and Palestinian negotiators said they were pulling out of the US-brokered “proximity talks”.
The crisis erupted during the visit of US Vice-President Joe Biden to Israel to support the talks.
Mr Simhon said: “Members of the Labour Party have more and more difficulty in taking part in a coalition government that they joined with the purpose of relaunching the peace process with the Palestinians.
“The anger of Biden is justified. A grave error has been committed, and there is a price to pay.”
The Arab League, which pressed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to accept renewed talks even though Israel had not agreed to freeze Jewish settlements, withdrew support for the discussions.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Mr Biden had said privately Israel’s decision to build in East Jerusalem was liable “to set the Middle East on fire”.
It said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent three officials to tell the US delegation he did not know the announcement was coming, but “US administration officials didn’t buy the explanation” and “officials in both the White House and the State Department accused Israel of having set Biden up”.