Netanyahu at AIPAC confab: Jerusalem is ours!

In speeches before the annual Washington policy conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) March 22, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took barely veiled stabs at each other. “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today,” Netanyahu told 7,500 cheering delegates. “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.” His remarks received a standing ovation—but also denunciations from a few protesters whose shouts were quickly drowned out by the AIPAC delegates.

Speaking to the confab earlier that evening, Clinton urged Israel to make “difficult but necessary choices” for peace, and said the planned construction of 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem “undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need.” But she added that this is not “a judgment on the final status of Jerusalem, which is an issue to be settled at the negotiating table.” And she of course said that US support for Israel is “rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever.” (JTA, Channel New Asia, March 23)

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  1. Netanyahu’s impeccable sense of timing
    President Obama Netanyahu had an unusually low-key meeting at the White House March 24—with no photo op and no public statement. Minutes before the two men met, word leaked out in Israel that another 20 new apartments had been approved for Jews in an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The 20-unit project, funded by US businessman Irving Moskowitz, cleared its chief planning hurdles in July but received the final go-ahead March 18, when the developer paid project fees to the city, officials said. The plan calls for 20 Jewish-owned apartments on the site of the former Shepherd Hotel in the Palestinian-majority neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah. (LAT, March 25; ABC, March 24)