New York, NY, October 2, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today criticized the tone and timing of the Obama administration’s “intensified critique” of Israel for movement on housing plans in East Jerusalem, calling it “myopic” and saying it reinforces Palestinian intransigence regarding reconciliation with Israel.
Both White House and State Department spokespeople reacted to reports of a public notice soliciting construction tenders in East Jerusalem just following President Obama’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on October 1.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The Obama administration’s intensified critique of Israel for housing plans in East Jerusalem, saying it will poison the atmosphere and even come between Israel and ‘its closest allies,’ is myopic, ill-timed and off the mark.
The United States and Israel should remain solidly focused on the issues the President and Prime Minister outlined in public comments before their private meeting -- shared concerns about the global threat of Iran’s nuclear program, the battle against the peril to the region from brutal extremists, and a way forward for Israel and the Palestinians -- after the seven weeks of fighting -- to stop Hamas rocket attacks against Israel.
Just days after the President told the U.N. that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from the main destabilizing factor in the region, elevating the issue of settlement construction to center stage by calling into question Israel’s commitment to peace and suggesting it is a potential wedge in its alliances is misplaced.
One need only to recall the complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and Israel’s unilateral ten month freeze on new settlement construction to understand that Israeli settlements are not and never have been the impediment to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
Just last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas used his address before the U.N. to vilify Israel, reject reconciliation and to turn away from direct negotiations, which the U.S. called ‘deeply disappointing.’ The escalation and harshness of U.S. criticism ignores and, ultimately, serves to reinforce this intransigence.