Brain Bush’s Blog

Construction Confrontation

  • By : Brian Bush
  • July 20, 2009
  • 4:53 pm

Hi friends,

Well – it's looking like were headed to a confrontation over settlement activity.

The United States has told Israel to stop Jewish construction in East Jerusalem. Both Israel's ambassador to America, Michael Oren, and Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu have said that Jerusalem, the capital of Israel is not a settlement. Therefore it cannot be held to the same discussions as settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future State, and according to the international community, East Jerusalem is part of the West Bank.
Yesterday, Palestinian President Mohmoud Abbas said that Israel was intentionally removing Islamic and Christian identities to Jerusalem, calling on the world to force Israel to stop.

The Israeli Prime Minister's most recent comments were in reply to Americans' demand to halt construction in an East Jerusalem hotel compound. He went on to say that he does not intend to “fold on this issue.”

The US has responded saying that there is no difference between developing outposts and construction in the East Jerusalem.

Thus it appears that the crisis between Jerusalem and Washington is intensifying.
But it does seem that Mr. Netanyahu doesn't really care about the American concern. Media here have him reportedly saying that “I will not capitulate”, and surprisingly, .
“What do they think? I, who built Har Homa (the large growing settlement in the hills out-skirting Bethlehem) against the entire world, will give in on 20 apartments?”

In response to those words the Obama Administration has announced it is sending it's special envoy – National Security Adviser James Jones – to Israel.

Other leaks that the media are reporting is that confidants of Mr. Netanyahu believe that President Obama has “climbed on too high a tree” this time and that he's crossed a red line.

Practically speaking, the push for large Jewish construction in the Arab neighborhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem essentially disallows for any diplomatic solution based on the division of the city in any future peace deal.

In reality, it will be difficult at best to relocate Jews living in Arab neighborhoods or Arabs who have purchased homes in the Jewish neighborhoods because the situation that has been created makes it near impossible.

When it comes to the issue of Jerusalem, the US is entering into a confrontation with most of the Israeli public. Politically, the 6 major right-wing parties, that includes Likud (Mr. Netanyahu) and Yisrael Beytenu (Mr. Avigdor Liberman, Israel's Foreign Minister) all oppose any type of division for Jerusalem.

It seems apparent that here in Israel, even those who support a diplomatic compromise for two states for two peoples will find it difficult to justify further moves in that direction, or that of the stopping of West Bank settlements, as America is now perceived as interfering in the core Jewish issue of Jerusalem.

Thanks for reading up on the Blog!

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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