Israel is "playing with fire" in expanding Jewish settlements in annexed Arab east Jerusalem and attempting to alter the Holy City's identity, Jordan's King Abdullah II said today (March 25, 2010), according to the Drudge Report website.
"Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and -- like the other occupied territories -- it is subject to unilateral Israeli actions that are illegal and illegitimate and will lead to further conflict," the king added.
In addition to derailing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has enraged the White House -- and its efforts for peace in the Middle East -- by insisting that Israel will continue with its plans to build 1600 housing units in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama this week, but the President could not convince Netanyahu to forgo the Israeli housing plans.
Disappointed with Netanyahu's failure to promote peace in the Middle East, White House staff denied Netanyahu the usual photo opportunities afforded to a visiting leader, and did not issue a joint statement on the Obama-Netanyahu meetings. Moreover, President Obama withdrew a private dinner invitation for Netanyahu at the White House -- something that is almost never done.
Consequently, Netanyahu's stubbornness on the issue of Israel's housing plans in East Jerusalem has resulted in the worst state of U.S.-Israeli relations since Israel became and independent nation in 1948.