Biden Ends Controversial Visit to Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden ends his visit to Israel Thursday. What started as a warm and friendly visit has turned into an international controversy over Jewish building in the city of Jerusalem.

Biden visited with Palestinian leaders on Wednesday where the subject of new construction in Jerusalem dominated the meetings.

The controversy involves a construction project in the community called Ramat Shlomo. When Israel's Interior Ministry announced they approved permits for 1,600 new apartments in the middle of Biden's visit, it turned into a major diplomatic incident.

Click play for more analysis with CBN News Senior Editor John Waage, following Chris Mitchell's report.

The vice president condemned the move not once, but twice. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he regretted the timing of the announcement and the Palestinian Authority claimed it proved Israel was not serious about peace on the eve of new negotiations.

Still, Israel said it would not rescind the construction permits and some Israeli leaders said while the timing may have been unfortunate, Jews can still build in Jerusalem.

"I hope that everyone who wants to reach peace understands that any Israeli government, not just the present one, the previous one and the following ones, will still believe that Jerusalem is the united capital of the state of Israel," said Yuli Edelstein, Israeli Minister of Public Affairs and the Diaspora.

But Palestinian leaders also claim Jerusalem as the capital of their future state -- a state Biden said was an essential part of U.S. foreign policy.

"Our administration is fully committed to the Palestinian people and to achieving a Palestinian state that is independent, viable, and contiguous," Biden said.

Yet some Israeli leaders say Palestinian incitement against Israel and glorifying terrorists stands in the way of a viable Palestinian state and genuine peace. They asked the U.S. to stop the Palestinian Authority from naming a square in Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi. The female terrorist killed dozens of Israelis in one of the biggest terror attacks against Israel in its history.

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Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.