The negative reactions are snowballing on multiple fronts against Israel’s highly controversial decision to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, an announcement that put the kibosh on Vice President Joe Biden’s good-will visit last week. As The Christian Science Monitor reported Friday, the settlement plan has drawn criticism from the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, as well as the U.S., and the Israeli people are apparently far less aligned with their government’s settlement plan than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated they were. –KA

The Christian Science Monitor:

The Middle East quartet issued a call from Moscow today for an Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem, and backed a peace treaty by March 2012.

The joint statement from the European Union, the United Nations, Russia and the US, ratchets up diplomatic pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to defuse what some have said is the worst dispute with Washington in decades. The statement said the group would “monitor closely” Israeli construction in Jerusalem and condemned the 1,600 unit building project that upended Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel and sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two allies.

The call got a cold reception from the Israeli government.

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