March 17th, 2010
09:58 AM ET

Ambassador denies saying U.S.-Israel relations in crisis

The Israeli ambassador to the United States said Wednesday he did not make statements attributed to him about relations between his country and the United States being "in a crisis."

"I was flagrantly misquoted about remarks I made in a confidential briefing this past Saturday," Amb. Michael Oren said.

"Recent events do not - I repeat - do not represent the lowest point in the relations between Israel and the United States. Though we differ on certain issues, our discussions are being conducted in an atmosphere of cooperation as befitting long-standing relations between allies. I am confident that we will overcome these differences shortly."

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Oren made the comments in a conference call to the country's consuls-general Saturday night.

Last week, the United States harshly criticized Israel for announcing the planned construction of 1,600 new housing units in a disputed area of Jerusalem claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians during a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Just two days before the announcement, U.S. Envoy George Mitchell said Israel and the Palestinians had agreed to indirect peace talks mediated by him. Mitchell also asked both sides not to do anything provocative that would endanger the outcome of those talks.

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