US pressure won't alter Israeli policy on Jerusalem

Friday, March 26, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Friday issued a statement insisting that pressure applied by the Obama Administration during the Israeli leader's recent visit to Washington will not alter Israeli police regarding Jerusalem.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier in the week tried to strong-arm Netanyahu into severely restricting Jewish construction on Jerusalem's eastern side in preparation for surrendering the area to become the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Israel maintains that the city will remain undivided under Israeli sovereignty, and therefore there is no need to restrict Jewish building.

Right-wing Israeli lawmakers have been trying to impress upon Netanyahu since his return from Washington Thursday that the bulk of the Israeli public supports the traditional stand regarding Jerusalem, and so he has a free hand to reject the US demands.

Along with the Jerusalem building restrictions, Obama pressed Netanyahu to make several more far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians. Netanyahu said he would have to consult with his cabinet before committing to anything. He was scheduled to convene his cabinet later on Friday.

Meanwhile, major US media laid into Obama for purposely straining America's relationship with Israel in order to appease the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The Washington Post was most harsh, calling the current situation in an editorial published on Thursday a "US-engineered deadlock."

The newspaper noted that the new Obama demands have been immediately followed by a hardening of Palestinian positions, since they obviously can't let the White House be more pro-Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves. And that has resulted in true peace being put even further out of reach.

The editorial also blasted Obama for treated Netanyahu "as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms length."

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