For all intents and purposes United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told Israel to DROP DEAD today, by declaring that the US saw no difference between East Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria. Not only did that declaration throw out 2000+ years of Jewish history, but it ignored Israeli and US Law as well as President Bush’s letter to Ariel Sharon in April of 2004 saying that Israel should not have to return all of the disputed territory.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the US does not consider it legitimate for Israel to build homes in some neighborhoods of the capital which are located beyond the Green Line. In a conversation held in the ornate antechamber of her office, she went further than US officials have previously gone toward clarifying her government’s position on the matter. Her remarks set the stage for a confrontation over the issue when Rice and US President George W. Bush visit Israel this week and try to move the peace process forward.
It was another slap in the face from the Secretary of State to Israel and the Jewish people who has previously identified terrorists as like the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s and terrorist President Abbas as like Martin Luther King Jr.
Israel, which annexed east Jerusalem after the 1967 war, does not equate the capital’s Jewish neighborhoods over the Green Line with the settlements located in the West Bank. As such, it does not believe that construction there is bound by its obligation under the road map peace plan, which calls for a freeze of all settlement activity. But Rice on Monday clarified that the US believes that portions of east Jerusalem are considered to be “settlements” and that Israel must stop building there as part of its commitment to implement the first phase of the road map. Rice said “the United States doesn’t make a distinction” between settlement activity in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and that the road map obligations are on “settlement activity generally.” Rice referred specifically to Jerusalem’s Har Homa enclave as one such proscribed neighborhood. “Har Homa is a settlement the United States has opposed from the very beginning,” she said in response to a question from the Post.
You may have opposed it, but not the US. Twice during the Clinton administration there were UN Security Council resolutions admonishing Israel for the the Har Homa settlement. Each time the US vetoed that resolution.
When asked, she didn’t, however, clarify whether other Jerusalem neighborhoods over the Green Line, such as Gilo and Ramot, were also settlements in the eyes of the United States. “The important point here is that we need to have an agreement so that we can stop having this discussion about what belongs to Israel and what doesn’t,” she said in response. Her answer points to the longtime ambiguity in the US position towards construction in these neighborhoods, which is opposed by the Palestinians and many European countries. Traditionally the United States refrains from describing Jerusalem neighborhoods as “settlements,” but the Bush administration has been particularly critical of recently announced building tenders in Har Homa…. ……Olmert spoke of Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, including the West Bank suburb of Ma’aleh Adumim, as integral parts of the city. “Ma’aleh Adumim is an indivisible part of Jerusalem and the State of Israel. I don’t think when people are talking about settlements they are talking about Ma’aleh Adumim.” That position now clearly puts him at odds with the United States’ understanding of Israel’s road map obligations. The US has said that it will be monitoring both sides’ adherence to the road map as a part of the new negotiations, though the mechanism to do so has yet to be put in place.