Freeze means freeze

May 28, 2009

Following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of a full settlement

freeze, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that
President Obama “wants to see a stop to settlements – not some
settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions.”

Amen. A freeze means a freeze. This is exactly the
sort of leadership we need from the President and Secretary of State if
we are going to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict – the only way to truly secure Israel’s future as a Jewish,
democratic homeland.

You can bet the Obama
Administration is already hearing from hawkish voices on Israel –
urging him to make exceptions, allow for more settlement growth, and to
go slow. We’ve got to make sure the President knows pro-Israel, pro-peace
Americans support his strong line on settlements, for both Israel’s and
America’s sake and security.

Continued Israeli
settlement expansion in the West Bank is a real obstacle to peace
between the Israelis and the Palestinians – and as President Obama
said, settlements “have to be stopped.”

Of course, Israeli settlements aren’t the only obstacle to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians also
have responsibilities of their own – they must bring an end to terror
and incitement against Israel and maintain a ceasefire in Gaza.

Israel also needs to
allow for Palestinian freedom of movement in the West Bank and to open
the Gaza border crossings for humanitarian supplies and reconstruction
materials.

The dance between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama over
settlements is just getting started. As in the past, Netanyahu will
stall – hoping his American backers have enough time to undermine the
President’s efforts in Congress or convince the President that the
political costs of bold leadership are too high.

We’ve got to make
sure the President and his Admnistration hear from the majority of
Americans like us who support the President’s call for a settlement
freeze, without exceptions, right now.