Thursday, November 11, 2010

Democratic Senator Schumer: Settlements are not the issue; US position is to the left of the PA

(PolitickerNY). On Sunday November 2. Sen. Charles Schumer keynoted the Agudath Israel Legislative Breakfast, Schumer took some of the Obama administration's positions to task on Israel, calling the administration at one point "to the left of the Palestinian Authority."
"My basic view is very simple. The reason we don't have peace in the Middle East is because a large percentage of...Palestinians and Arabs do not believe there should be a Jewish state, period. That's why when Prime Minister Netanyahu said let them recognize Israel as Jewish state, just a week or two ago it was. They said no. So that's the reason. And the irony is every President goes through this. By getting the Palestinian and Arab world to hope that they can break the tie between us and Israel, you don't further the cause of peace, you set back the cause of peace. As long as they think they can break that tie, the tougher they will be. But if they think the tie is immutable, they will say maybe we should throw in the towel and have some kind peace with Israel...And so what we have to do is give them that impression. 

"My view was when the president said the settlements were the reason we don't have peace and Israel should back off the settlements, it was counter-productive. And I told him that privately and I said it publicly. And it's very simple. First, at one point the U.S. position was to the left of the [Palestinian Authority,] not of Hamas but of the Palestinian Authority. But second anyone who thinks the settlements are the cause of the problem, all they have to do is look at Gaza. People forget so quickly and our society moves so fast that you forget history of a year or two ago.
Schumer mentioned the pull-out of Gaza in 2005 as proof that settlements are not a deterrent to peace.
"What was the response" from Palestinians," he asked. "Missiles into [the Israeli city] of Sderot. Settlements are not the issue."
This is not the first time that Schumer has delivered the kind of defense of Israel that has left some of his liberal allies stunned. In April, he went on a conservative Jewish radio show and accused the Obama administration of having a "counter-productive" Israel policy. This led some liberal bloggers like the Washington Note's Steve Clemmons to say that Schumer sounds "as if he is more a Senator working in the Knesset than working in the United States Senate".