Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jerusalem is not a "settlement"!

From JPost, 23/03/2010, by HILARY LEILA KRIEGER:

Jerusalem is our capital, Netanyahu tells AIPAC parley, stressing that Israel wants peace.

WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated Israeli claims to Jerusalem and rejected assertions that it was not fully committed to peace, in a speech Monday night sandwiched between meetings with top US leaders aimed at smoothing over recent disagreements.

Netanyahu arrived here Monday and held a meeting at his hotel with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before delivering his address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Monday night. On Tuesday, he is set to meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House, for private discussions closed to the press.

Though Israeli and American officials have spent days reinforcing the message that the US-Israel relationship remains strong despite the most serious crisis between the country in years, both Netanyahu and leading US officials held their ground on the policy differences between them Monday.

Soon after Clinton told the audience at the AIPAC conference that the status quo between Israelis and Palestinians was “unsustainable” and that building over the 1948 armistice line in Jerusalem hurt efforts to advance the peace process, Netanyahu told tell AIPAC that “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”

He pointed out that all Israeli governments had built in Jerusalem over those lines and that nearly half the city’s Jewish population lived there.

“They are an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement,” he told the audience. “Therefore, building them in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.”

... Netanyahu ... pushed back against American suggestions that Israel hadn’t shown a commitment to peace.

“Israel is unjustly accused of not wanting peace with the Palestinians. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Netanyahu said. “My government has consistently shown its commitment to peace in both word and deed. From day one, we called on the Palestinian Authority to begin peace negotiations without delay.” ...

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