`No crisis between Israel and US`

Last Updated: Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 14:07

Jerusalem: Brushing aside the report that Israel and the US are on a "collision course" over constructions in the West Bank settlements, the Jewish state has said that there is "no crisis between the two close allies and the disagreements will be resolved soon".
"There is no crisis in Israel-US relations. Here we are talking about disagreements over certain subjects, very, very specific," Israel`s new Ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, said.

"There is goodwill between the two countries in attempting to solve the dispute. I am sorry to disappoint, but there is no crisis. We are talking about an extremely deep alliance (between Israel and the US)", Oren told Israel Radio.

The US State Department had summoned the Israeli envoy over the weekend for clarifications over an Israeli plan to construct housing units on the site of a defunct hotel in East Jerusalem.

Oren told the State Department that construction in East Jerusalem was no different than in any other part of the country.

Israel`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week told his cabinet that Israel`s sovereignty over Jerusalem was "indisputable" and that Jews could buy property in East
Jerusalem like Arabs could in the western part of the city.

A leading think tank in a report yesterday said that the two countries could be on a "collision course" unless Israel took steps to back up its assertions that it was interested in real peace with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu`s recent "qualified and conditional commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state" may not be enough to avert a clash with Washington, unless it "substantiates its desire to settle its conflicts with the Arab world with practical measures", Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a Tel Aviv-based think tank, said in the report.

Presenting its annual Israeli strategic survey, the INSS said a stalemate on the Israeli-Palestinian issue "is the potential for tensions between the United States and Israel".

The Jewish state has to formulate a strategy for negotiations with the Palestinians and with Syria and had to establish a "constructive exchange" with the US on how to deal with Iran`s nuclear ambitions, the report suggested.

It also warned Jerusalem that possible regional developments, such as the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq or challenges to moderate Arab regimes, could force the Israel to grapple with new threats and sources of instability.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 14:07

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