Monday, November 30, 2009

ADL and Rep. Ackerman call Netanyahu's Settlement freeze - "courageous and unprecedented".

The ADL:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would freeze West Bank settlement building for 10 months a “courageous and unprecedented” tangible expression of Israel’s deep desire for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a courageous and unprecedented step in announcing a 10-month freeze on building in West Bank settlements in order to spur peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

This politically difficult decision unquestionably demonstrates Israel’s deep and ongoing commitment to reaching a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Senator George Mitchell both clearly acknowledged, the pledge announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu is more than any other Israeli government has done with regard to settlements and “helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

We join with Israel and the United States in calling on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world to respond meaningfully to this significant step by Israel, and take their own meaningful action to promote reconciliation, peace and security with Israel.

Rep.Ackerman (D-NY):

“Today’s announcement is a very significant achievement for the Obama Administration and very clear demonstration of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s readiness to make hard decisions in order to achieve peace.

The temporary restrictions that Israel is adopting—purely as a matter of good faith—should be recognized by Palestinian leaders as an opportunity to reengage with the Israeli government in negotiations on an agreement that will finally put the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians to rest. I hope the Palestinian leadership and Israel’s Arab neighbors seize this opportunity. I fear, given past patterns and practices, that they will be tempted to again make the perfect the enemy of the good, and in doing so, diminish the hope on all sides that peace is possible.

What Prime Minister Netanyahu has committed to is highly significant and instead of responding with complaints, this courageous step should be cause for positive acknowledgement and for rededication to moving the peace process forward. These just announced steps are a very important demonstration of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s commitment to work for peace and to make sacrifices, including political sacrifices for peace. His decision—especially given the scant credit I expect he will receive from some parties in the region—is especially bold, and I congratulate him for it.

What is needed is for the Prime Minister’s courage to be matched by a willingness among all the parties to move ahead to negotiate the most difficult and challenging issues that stand in the way of a final peace agreement.

As President Obama has reiterated, the United States is committed to achieving peace between a viable, independent Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, and a secure, democratic, Jewish State of Israel. The decisions announced today will, I hope, bring that achievement closer to fruition.”