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Jerusalem is no settlement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Washington has failed to resolve the differences with the Obama administration over the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. www.JoelRosenberg.com  reported the Obama administration has been applying intense and unprecedented pressure on the Netanyahu government to make huge unilateral concessions to the Palestinians even before direct peace talks begin.

One advisor who has been briefed on the talks told Rosenberg:
“President Obama is insisting that Israel sign a document that specifies Israel’s commitment to a peace deal with the Palestinians that will be based on 1967 lines. This means no building in Jerusalem, and a time table to address other core issues, like the ‘right of return.’"

The advisor also noted that President Obama spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to make sure each of them are on board with pressuring the Israelis to make such unprecedented unilateral concessions.
The White House apparently wants the document to become the blueprint for final status negotiations, even though the Palestinians refuse even to come to the table and sit down for direct talks with the Israeli leader.

If anything, Netanyahu’s visit reinforced the widespread skepticism of the prospects to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement – the main item of frustration being Israel’s announcement of building 1600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo, situated in an area that was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, and therefore is considered by most international media as an Israeli “settlement” in East Jerusalem. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a leading Jewish organization recently that Israeli construction on land claimed by the Palestinians threatens peace efforts and undermines America’s ability to help end the Arab-Israeli conflict. Clinton defended the Obama administration’s strong criticism of the move because she said “it hurt attempts to launch indirect peace talks, and demanded Israel halt new construction in those parts of Jerusalem it occupied in the war of 1967, but which are claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital. The Obama administration has made it quite clear that if push comes to shove, it is the Israelis who will have to give ground.

However, the media should not fool us. The new homes to be built are an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. It is not a new “settlement” outside of Jerusalem, but it will be an established Jewish neighbourhood within the Israeli designated borders of Jerusalem. Netanyahu made his point of view on the so-called “settlement” issue very clear during his speech at the recent America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC):

“Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital... Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement.”

The extraordinary aspect of this manufactured crisis is that as Iran proceeds steadily toward nuclear weapons, the Obama administration lowers its sights from harsh sanctions against Iran to provoking a fight over long-standing Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, which were not the critical issue even in the “peace process,” much less the broader Middle East.
What makes this even more hard to swallow is that Obama is focusing on Iran and Afghanistan, places where Israel-Palestinian issues clearly have zero effect on events. As Barry Rubin commented in his article ‘Explaining the U.S.-Israel Crisis’:

“Sunni and Shia Iraqis aren’t in conflict because of Israel; Sunni insurgents aren’t attacking American troops because of Israel."

Al-Qaida and the Taliban aren’t fighting to seize power in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of Israel. And al-Qaida isn’t seeking to overturn all Arab regimes, create an Islamist government, and destroy any Western role in the Middle East because of Israel. And even if the Israel issue may be one factor affecting the attitudes of Arabs toward revolutionary Islamism it is only a single factor among many. The people prone to supporting revolutionary Islamism won’t interpret an American conflict with Israel as showing the goodness of Obama but as proving the weakness of Obama and the coming triumph of Iran in the region.

The handling of this issue
is also counterproductive because it ensures Israel-Palestinian talks won’t get going again. After all, if the United States is so angry at Israel why should the PA and Arab states defuse the crisis? They will raise their demands because they win either way: If the United States forces Israel to make more concessions then they get something for nothing. But if Israel doesn’t make those concessions then it gets blamed for the impasse and the Arab side profits from reduced U.S. support for Israel. As for the radical forces – Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah – they aren’t going to become pro-American or support a real peace process no matter what happens.

Consequently, just as with the original demand for a freeze on construction, the Administration has once gain shot itself in the foot. The chances for even indirect talks in 2010 has gone to virtually zero as a result. Israel didn’t do it; the U.S. government did.
Ironically, the United States will end up losing more from this than Israel because nothing much is going to be altered regarding Israel-Palestinian issues but a great deal is changing in the larger regional situation”. Anyway, it is time to stand up and speak out that Jews have the same right as every other people to live anywhere in the world, anywhere in Israel and anywhere in its capital Jerusalem. It should be acknowledged that Jerusalem is and should remain the capital of the State of Israel.
Jerusalem should remain an undivided city.  in which the rights of every ethnic group are protected.

The Jews have returned from the four corners of the world to where King David established his capital 3,000 years earlier and they intend to stay there. All new homes are to be built on Jewish owned land in Jerusalem, the city that God claims as His own!

No matter what comes against Israel in her time of trouble, the Lord God, Jehovah is with her.

“If I forget you, Yerushalayim, may my right hand wither away! May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to count Yerushalayim the greatest of all my joys.”

(Jewish Bible - Psalms 137: 5-6).
(Henk Kamsteeg is Managing Editor of Israel & Christians Today)
Jerusalem is no settlement