WASHINGTON— In response to Israeli government plans to build the new Jewish neighborhood of Givat Hamatos in East Jerusalem, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement:
J Street is baffled by the announcement that plans are moving forward to construct Givat Hamatos—the first new Jewish neighborhood to be built in East Jerusalem since Har Homa in 1997.
The proposed construction will unilaterally seal off the southern border of East Jerusalem, leaving little room for future negotiations. It will also surround the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa with Israeli construction.
We call on the Netanyahu government to intervene immediately to reverse the decision and to defer all plans to build in East Jerusalem until the status of the city’s neighborhoods has been determined through negotiations.
It defies credulity for Prime Minister Netanyahu to, at once, proclaim his commitment to negotiations without preconditions, while undertaking highly inflammatory actions that expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem.
This is not just an issue of bad faith, but of bad policy, raising questions as to whether there remains anything beyond a rhetorical commitment by the Netanyahu government to achieving a viable two-state solution.
Those of us who are committed to a two-state solution as the only way to ensure Israel’s Jewish and democratic future must speak out now to stop these self-defeating plans from going forward.