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Axelrod: Israeli settlement plan ‘an insult’

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The Obama administration isn’t backing down on criticisms of an Israeli plan to build 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem. Israel announced the plan just as Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country.

President Obama’s chief political adviser condemned the move Sunday. “This was an affront, it was an insult,” David Axelrod told NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

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“But most importantly, it undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region,” he said. “We just now have started proximity talks, shuttle diplomacy between the Palestinians and the Israelis. For this announcement to come at that time was very destructive.”

Fox News’ Bill Kristol responded to Axelrod by defending the Israelis. “No one doubts this is part of Israel. This little apartment building is going to be part of Israel. No different from Palestinians building apartment buildings in Ramallah. It’s ludicrous that it became a big issue,” said Kristol.

The story made international headlines Friday as the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations — condemned “Israel’s decision to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem.”

“The Quartet reaffirms that unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community,” it added in a statement.

This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press and Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast March 14, 2010.

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