How bad is the row set off by Israel’s announcement of a plan to expand settlements on Jerusalem while Vice President Joe Biden visited the country? The Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, said “Israel’s ties with the United States are in their worst crisis since 1975… a crisis of historic proportions.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the construction will continue, despite having apologized for the timing of the announcement. AIPAC, meanwhile, has put the onus of the crisis on President Obama: “AIPAC calls on the administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State," the pro-Israel lobby said in a statement. And Haaretz is reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made four demands of Israel to repair relations: 1) Cease the construction in East Jerusalem; 2) Investigate the process that led to the announcement of the project during Biden's visit; 3) Make a "substantial gesture" toward the Palestinians, like releasing prisoners; and 4) Issue a declaration that the talks with the Palestinians will address core issues like borders, security arrangements, and settlements.
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