US President Barack Obama answers a question from a journalist during a joint press conference with Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta on November 9. Israeli plans to build new settler homes in occupied east Jerusalem are not helpful for the Middle East peace process, Obama told reporters during a trip to Indonesia. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)
American President Barack Obama lashed out at Israel today while visiting Indonesia, the world’s most populated Muslim country.
The New York Times reported:
President Obama, stepping into an Israeli-Palestinian dispute during a homecoming visit to the world’s largest Muslim majority nation, criticized Israel on Tuesday for its decision to advance the approval of some 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem during a sensitive time in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
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“This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough,” Mr. Obama said during a joint news conference with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here. He added, “Each of these incremental steps end up breaking trust.”
Mr. Obama arrived here Tuesday afternoon from New Delhi on a long-awaited visit that is now being cut short by a cloud of volcanic ash headed toward Jakarta. The ash is expected to interfere with air travel on Wednesday, forcing the president to leave several hours ahead of his scheduled departure for Seoul, where he will attend the G-20 conference of world leaders.