Sunday, October 17, 2010

US Rep. Ackerman: “Construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, or a showdown"

US Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-New York), who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, issued a strong statement in defense of Israel on Friday, taking to task those who have equated the capital with West Bank settlements.

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is not a settlement,” Ackerman told the press.

It has been “the singular geographic center of the hopes and aspirations of the Jewish people for three millennia,” he said.

“Construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, a showdown, a meltdown or even a hissy fit,” Ackerman said.

“Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev are going to be part of Israel in any conceivable final-status deal, and to pretend otherwise is pointless,” he said.

“Those who earlier complained about the inadequacy of Israel’s unilateral and uncompensated settlement freeze, who chose to waste those 10 months instead of diving aggressively into direct talks on peace, cannot reasonably now turn around and complain that the end of the freeze and the resumption of Israeli construction in Jerusalem... is either a shock or an insurmountable obstacle to peace,”

Such construction “is neither a show of bad faith, nor a justification for avoiding negotiations aimed at achieving a final-status agreement.

“The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians are not going to be achieved by violence and they’re not going to be achieved by the equivalent of holding their breath until their lips turn blue,” he said.

“Direct negotiations are sole pathway to their goal, and the sooner they recognize this fact, the better,” he said.