This administration — like previous administrations — has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton • Discussing Israel’s plan to build new settlements on the West Bank in violation of international law, a decision announced hours after the United Nations voted in favor of giving Palestine de facto statehood. While critical of the newly-announced settlements, Clinton said that the United States would continue to favor Israel in peace talks. “If and when the parties are ready to enter into direct negotiations to solve the conflict, President (Barack) Obama will be a full partner to them,” she said.
Make no mistake, the ayatollahs in Iran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel.Mitt Romney • Making a statement in Jerusalem regarding his, and the United States’, commitment to the country. He emphasized during his speech that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, and that ”we recognize Israel’s right to defend itself.” Romney is on a multi-stop international trip this week, having previously stopped in Britain ahead of the Olympic games. Next stop? Poland.
» A tenuous situation: An Israeli planning committee has approved the expansion of the Gilo settlement of East Jerusalem, which has prompted much international concern that the peace process will suffer as a result. “Today’s decision … ignores the Quartet’s [the US, UN, EU and Russia] appeal of last Friday to the parties to refrain from provocative actions,” said a spokesman for UN special coordinator for Mid-East peace Robert Serry. The settlement expansion is still subject to public consultation before final approval.
» Israel’s long-term plan: While Obama continues to push Israel to return to their 1967 borders, Prime Minister Benjamain Netanyahu has plans for the capital, now a single piece thanks to the Six-Day War, which changed those borders. ”The city was united 44 years ago,” he noted, “and we returned to our ancestral lands. Since then Jerusalem has flourished.” The multi-year package would increase funding for tourism, education grants and also give bio-technology companies incentives to work in the long-divided city.
» The old tension beginning to boil again: This bomb attack comes on the heels of rocket and mortar attacks launched from Gaza on Wednesday, which wounded one person. That attack was called retaliation by some Palestinians, in response to Israeli air strikes that killed eight people, amongst them three children. So, basically, this is all (still) shot to hell, and with Israeli/Palestinian peace talks having fallen apart last year, it’s anybody’s guess what the future holds for this most bloody and depressing of conflicts.
Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is the capital of the state of Israel. Israel sees no connection between the diplomatic process and the planning and building policy in Jerusalem.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu • Explaining why Israel will continue to build settlements in disputed areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank despite rebukes from the U.S. for its latest settlement-building schemes. Just hours before, Obama criticized Israel for its actions like so: “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make that extra effort involved to get a breakthrough. Each of these incremental steps end up breaking trust.” source (via • follow)