I've faced down US on settlement, boasts Israel PM
Published 22/03/2010 | 05:00
ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted yesterday that he had faced down American demands to halt Jewish construction in East Jerusalem, raising the stakes in a diplomatic row.
Mr Netanyahu avoided a snub when he was formally invited to hold talks with President Barack Obama at the White House tomorrow, despite the worst crisis in US-Israeli relations for more than a decade.
The invitation represented a victory for Mr Netanyahu after a two-week stand-off with the US, triggered when Israel unveiled plans to expand a Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. It was captured by Israel during the 1967 six-day war but is seen by Palestinians as the capital of a future state.
Despite pressure from US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to reverse the expansion, demands have been resisted. Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet he had forced America to accept that East Jerusalem was as Jewish as the rest of Israel.
He was also encouraged when George Mitchell, Mr Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, hailed ties between Israel and the US as "unshakeable". (© Daily Telegraph, London)