A possible new misunderstanding between the United States and Israel on the issue of settlements once again points to the very real need for Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate directly, without preconditions.President Obama, speaking in Indonesia on Nov. 9, said that Israeli construction in Jerusalem “is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.”
B’nai B’rith International has long-called for full negotiations without preconditions. The construction around Jerusalem is in already built-up, populated areas which would most likely remain part of Israel in any agreement with the Palestinians. This most recent concern surrounding settlements relates not to a new government announcement, but to a municipal notification process for possible construction. Preconditions, particularly when it comes to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, puts Israel in an untenable position.
“Assigning Israel the responsibility for whether or not the peace talks proceed ignores Palestinian obfuscation and intransigence in getting back to the peace table,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “By focusing on settlements, Israel is held to a separate set of standards than the Palestinians.”
“We hope that the meeting scheduled between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will focus on getting bi-lateral talks back on track,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “A strong U.S.-Israel relationship is vital to any sustainable peace in the region.”
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.