Thursday, December 16, 2010

Netanyahu Simply Echoed U.S. Remarks on Jerusalem Status

This letter was published December 16, 2010 in the Waterbury Republican-American.

The Dec. 13 article "Israeli: Jerusalem ours," includes the opinion that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's affirmation of his government's commitment to continue Jerusalem's status as the united capital of Israel, open and shared by all, is "likely to increase friction with" the U.S. government.

Our president and secretary of State expressed the same commitment. I was in Washington, D.C., on June 4, 2008, and heard then-Sen. Barack Obama insist "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." A year earlier, his now secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, wrote "an undivided Jerusalem as (Israel's) capital ... must never be questioned." Israel's leader essentially reiterating the words of U.S. leaders should not cause any friction between the two countries.

In sharp contrast, we hear little of the repeated assertions of Mahmoud Abbas, the so-called "moderate" leader of the Palestinian Authority, that he will never make any concessions on any of the core issues pre venting an Arab-Israeli peace agreement. Abbas' statements go to the heart of the conflict and the reasons the Palestinian Arabs repeatedly have refused to establish their own state living in peace with Israel. They should not remain ignored.

Alan Stein

The writer is president of Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting (

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