(photo credit: Associated Press)
A Democratic congressman from New York released a statement late Friday
criticizing those in the US and abroad who have criticized a recent ministerial decision authorizing the sale of 240 plots of land for new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot and Pisgat Ze'ev.
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“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is not a settlement," said Rep. Gary
Ackerman Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and
South Asia. "As such, the resumption of construction in Jerusalem is not a
justification for a crisis, a showdown, a meltdown or even a hissy fit.
Ramot and Pisgat Zeev are going to be part of Israel in any conceivable
final status deal and to pretend otherwise is pointless."
"As I have said, those who earlier complained about the inadequacy of Israel’s unilateral and uncompensated settlement freeze, who chose to waste those ten 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."
Ackerman continued to add, "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. Direct negotiations are sole pathway to their goal and the sooner they recognize this fact, the better.”
Congressman Ackerman's comments on Friday came shortly after the State Department expressed disappointment at the 240 new housing units approved in Jerusalem.
“We were disappointed by the announcement of new tenders in east Jerusalem yesterday. It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley to assembled reporters at a weekly briefing.
Earlier on Friday, the Housing Ministry and Israel Lands Authority
announced the sale of some 4,000 plots for building housing units, 240
of which are in the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot and Pisgat
Ze'ev located east the Green Line.
The Prime Minister's Office
commented on the move stating that the decision came from Housing
Minister Ariel Attias, Army Radio reported. According to the report, the
PMO reiterated that there is currently no building moratorium in
Jerusalem, only a delay by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to "prevent
surprises by the sensitive timing, as in the past."
Jpost.com staff and Associated Press contributed to this article.