'Democrat J'lem policy begs for Jewish votes'

Hamas official slams decision to reinstate language recognizing J'lem as capital of Israel in party platform.

September 7, 2012 10:36
2 minute read.
US President Barack Obama at Democratic Convention

US President Barack Obama at Democratic Convention 370 (R). (photo credit: Jim Young / Reuters)


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Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq on Friday condemned the last-minute amendment to the Democrat party platform to reinstate language recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Writing on his Facebook page, al-Rishq commented: "Jerusalem was and will always be the eternal capital of Palestine, and of the Arab and Muslim nations."

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The official said that the return of the Democratic Party platform reinstating Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is "begging for Jewish votes."

On Thursday, The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also condemned the use of Jerusalem "in competition for the Jewish vote" between the two main sides of the American election, according to Ma'an News Agency.

In a statement, the PFLP said the United States sought to "judge and decide other people's rights, belongings and holy sites."

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Democrats amended the party platform Wednesday afternoon to include language supporting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The last-minute change came in the wake of mounting criticism from Democratic members of Congress incensed that the 2008 platform's declaration backing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel had been removed from the 2012 text. Sources close to the platform drafting process said Obama personally intervened on reinstating the Jerusalem language. The whole 2012 platform was originally adopted during the Democratic convention Tuesday night.

Several Democrats connected to the process said that Obama had personally intervened to have the language reinstated after the controversy, initiated by Republican pro-Israel activists, erupted. Several Jewish groups had also objected to the changes.

But at least some in the hall were supporters of the Palestinian position and objected to adding in text declaring that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final-status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

“[The] amendment to reinsert the language on Jerusalem was a clear case of putting pandering above responsible politics,” the Arab-American Institute said in statement put out after the amendment was made, saying it “flies in the face of decades of policy and the positions of President Obama, international peacemakers, and the American public at large.”

Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said the addition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital to the Democratic platform does not make up for the party's original intentions.

"I have no doubt that [US President Barack] Obama put Jerusalem back in his party's platform out of political and electoral considerations and because of the sharp criticism from Israel and the US," Rivlin stated.

Hilary Leila Krieger and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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