Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Netanyahu: "Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital."

In advance of his meeting today with President Obama, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear in his AIPAC speech yesterday that his country will continue to build housing in East Jerusalem.  From Fox News:
Netanyahu’s address at AIPAC Monday night sounded more like a line in the sand, rather than an attempt to work with the United States. “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital,” Netanyahu said. "Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement. Therefore, building in them in no way precludes the possibility of a two state solution." His comments came hours after Secretary of State Clinton told the same group that a building freeze in Israel would greatly increase security for that country. And while Netanyahu said Israel has no intention of governing Palestinians, and his country is “unjustly accused of not wanting peace with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said nothing could be further from the truth.

Republican Whip Eric Cantor (VA), the only Jewish Republican in Congress, met with Netanyahu on Tuesday and says the attempt to fan the flames on settlements is not helping the overall peace situation in the region. “There are broader issues at stake here and the construction issue in Jerusalem is a red herring,” Cantor told Fox News’ White House Correspondent Wendell Goler. “This is not what these peace talks should be about, these peace talks should be about what could create a lasting and enduring peace.”

But Cantor says, despite controversy over the settlements, Netanyahu was not unreasonable in his meeting with lawmakers about the issue of Jerusalem and said that it is understood there’s a difference between building in Israel and building in Jerusalem. “The issue of construction of Jerusalem is separate from the issue of settlement construction. This is a non-issue, it is not linked to the greater security in the region, and I think that it is an attempt by some in the region to continue to fan the flames, that is not helpful at all in terms of driving peace,” Cantor said.
President Obama exacted his punishment on the Prime Minister by refusing to appear with him in the customary press photo op during his White House visit today.  He was further punished when he had to appear at the Capitol with Senators John Kerry and Charles Schumer.  Enough is enough.

The video of Netanyahu's AIPAC speech is included in its entirety in four parts below.  It's a very good lesson in the history of the Jewish state and he is an excellent speaker.  I encourage you to take the time to listen.

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