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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Shocka: Netanyahu pushes back against Obama condemnation on Jerusalem

In Indonesia on Tuesday, President Obama took time out to blast Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel for announcing the construction of new apartments in Jerusalem (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
In response to a reporter’s question, the president stepped into an Israeli-Palestinian dispute over Jewish construction, criticizing Israel for its decision to advance the approval of 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem during a sensitive time in peace talks. The plight of Palestinians is a big issue in Indonesia, so much so that President Yudhoyono mentioned it in his opening remarks, saying he had told Mr. Obama that “we need a resolution on Palestine and Israel in a permanent sustainable manner.”

Of Israel’s settlement announcement, Mr. Obama said, “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that were not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough.” He added, “Each of these incremental steps end up breaking trust.”
Surprisingly, Netanyahu blasted back.
"Jerusalem is not a settlement, it is the capitol of Israel," the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday in a sharp retort to international criticism about plans for 1,345 homes in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

The government never agreed to place any restrictions on construction in Jerusalem, which has 800,000 residents, the prime minister's office said in a statement it issued while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in New York.


"Israel does not see any connection between the peace process and the policy of planning and construction in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years. For the last 40 years every Israeli government built in every part of the city. During that period peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan and for 17 years direct negotiations were held with the Palestinians. These are historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never interfered with the peace process," the office said.
Maybe Ron Kampeas was right about that swagger after all. Heh.

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