Monday, July 27, 2009

Myth: It's inconceivable that Jews can live where they wish in Paris, New York and anywhere else in the world, but not in Jerusalem (Netanyahu)

Fact: "Paris and New York are not Jerusalem, a de facto divided city. The annexation by Israel of Jerusalem's eastern half is not recognized by the international community, which almost unanimously designates it as the future Palestinian capital. Incidentally, few countries even recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital. " (Israeli security analyst and former Mossad official Yossi Alpher in Bitterlemons, 7/27/09) "Not one government has its embassy in Jerusalem today. Netanyahu's statement of our sovereignty in Jerusalem not being challenged is at best wishful thinking." (Gershon Baskin, Oh no, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2009)

2. Netanyahu's unwillingness to freeze construction of new Jewish housing in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem undermines the prospects for progressing the Arab world towards peace with Israel: “Actions like this approval [by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of a new Jewish settlement construction project at the Shepherd’s Hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem] will only reinforce and increase Arab distrust of Israel and the peace process President Obama is trying to catalyze, making it even harder to convince the Arab states to deliver the sort of early normalization steps that the US views as critical to the process.

“Israel and the US have for some time been complaining about Arab unwillingness to promise any normalization in advance of an actual settlement freeze. The Shepherd's Hotel debacle offers a very good example of why, perhaps, Arab leaders are reluctant to ‘pony up’ until it is clear that there won't be continual embarrassments and setbacks.”

-Lara Friedman, Director of Policy and Government Relations, Americans for Peace Now, and attorney Daniel Seidemann, Ir Amim (Israel). APN Settlements in Focus (July 22, 2009): “Abusing Jerusalem to Assail Peace: the Case of the Shepherd's Hotel." (Ir Amim is an Israeli non-profit organization working for an equitable and stable Jerusalem with an agreed political future. For more information, see