World opinion swings back against Israel

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

Even when the Palestinian regime openly identifies itself as an impossible peace partner, it never takes long before the international community finds an excuse to again blame Israel for the lack of a peace agreement.

Earlier this week, the world was taken aback by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' brash unilateral push for statehood at the UN. For a brief moment, the world sided with Israel as it pleaded in vain for Abbas to return to the negotiating table.

But already on Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to the familiar rhetoric, suggesting that the construction of a few apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem is what's really blocking peace.

"We believe that this morning's announcement by the government of Israel approving the construction of housing units in east Jerusalem is counter-productive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties," Clinton told reporters. "We have long urged both sides to avoid any kind of action which could undermine trust, including, and perhaps most particularly, in Jerusalem, any action that could be viewed as provocative by either side."

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned what they called "provocative settlement activity."

The three diplomats were referring to Israel's approval of the construction of 1,100 new apartments in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is already home to tens of thousands of Jews. The Palestinians claim Gilo as part of their future state, as it lies on the side of Jerusalem that was illegally occupied by Jordan prior to 1967.

It is worth pointing out that while Clinton is quick to jump on Israel for building a few apartments, she has not been consistent in calling out the "kind of action which could undermine trust" when it comes to the Palestinians.

For instance, Palestinian police forces have been operating in eastern Jerusalem in violation of signed agreements for the past couple of years. The Palestinian Authority has also resumed political activity in Jerusalem, again in violation of signed agreements.

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