J Street Director of Policy and Strategy Hadar Susskind released the following statement today:
J Street joins Vice President Biden in condemning Israel’s announcement of new East Jerusalem construction that only serves to hinder Middle East peace efforts, particularly as the Israelis and Palestinians begin proximity talks. As Vice President Biden said, this is "precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now." Continued construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank only diminishes the chances of achieving a viable two-state solution to the conflict. Yesterday’s announcement of proximity talks marked an important step forward, following a concerted American effort to engage the parties. Today’s announcement therefore marks a disappointing inflaming of tensions and undermining of trust – and is particularly surprising given Vice President Biden’s present visit to Israel aimed at underscoring the US-Israel relationship and the American commitment to a two-state resolution of the conflict. We echo Vice President Biden’s call for all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that may inflame tensions and prejudice the outcome of peace talks. If we are to achieve a true resolution to the conflict – and secure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic homeland - all sides must demonstrate their commitment to the diplomatic and constructive engagement needed to succeed.