Exchange between Israel, US continues; State Dept. says both parties responsible for creating conditions for successful negotiations.
The peace process threatened to spiral out of control Tuesday over Israeli plans to advance 1,345 housing units in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had flown to the US Saturday night hoping to break the impasse in the stalled peace talks. Instead, US President Barack Obama publicly reprimanded him as the Palestinians reissued their threats to seek unilateral statehood.
“The international community must respond to Israel’s unilateral measures by instantly recognizing a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders,” said chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Speaking about the Jerusalem homes at a press conference in Indonesia, Obama said, “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.” He added that such “incremental steps can end up breaking down trust between the parties.”
Netanyahu, in turn, sharply defended Israel’s right to build in Jerusalem, which it claims as its eternal united capital, even as the Palestinians claim the eastern party of the city as the capital of their future state.
“Jerusalem is not a settlement. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the government had never agreed to place any restrictions on construction in Jerusalem, which has 800,000 residents.
Although much of the international community equates construction in east Jerusalem with that of West Bank settlements, Israel makes a sharp distinction between the two. From November of last year to September, it halted new settlement construction in the West Bank, but during that time it continued to issue new tenders for building in east Jerusalem.
“Israel does not see any connection between the peace process and the policy of planning and construction in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years,” the statement continued. “For the last 40 years every Israeli government built in every part of the city. During that period, peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan, and for 17 years direct negotiations were held with the Palestinians. These are historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never interfered with the peace process.”
The statement went on to say that for the past 40 years, Israel and the US had disagreed over the status of east Jerusalem, but that Israel hoped to overcome these differences and stay focused on the peace process. It added that Netanyahu was hopeful that his meeting Thursday with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would advance the peace process.
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I don't believe Jerusalem will be be divided until the great tribulation period, when according to Zechariah 14:2, the Lord gathers all nations against Jerusalem to battle and the city shall be taken. That Scripture tells us that, at that time, half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then in Revelation 11:2, John was told to not measure the temple, for it is given to the Gentiles and will be trampled for forty two months.
Those Scriptures tell us the city will one day be divided.
Until then, Jerusalem will continue to be a burdensome stone as prophesied in Scripture. It will not be simply handed over to the Palestinians as Obama and others are trying to accomplish. More than that, the world wants Israel to be gone...wiped off the map, but that will never happen.
The good news? Jesus will return soon, then, all negotiations will come to an abrupt end!