J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement upon the Israeli Government’s announcement of the construction of 1,300 new apartments in East Jerusalem:
J Street is profoundly disappointed that the Israeli government has chosen this moment to announce yet another large round of construction in East Jerusalem.
The latest negotiations designed to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hang by a thread, and the United States is working tirelessly to find a way to keep hope for a diplomatic two-state resolution to the conflict alive.
The news is even more of a disappointment as Prime Minister Netanyahu is in the United States this week, participating in important discussions with Vice President Biden and other American officials over how to resume peace talks and how to address the Iranian nuclear program.
The time has come for both sides – Israelis and Palestinians – to stop counterproductive unilateral actions and return immediately to time-limited negotiations aimed in particular at setting the border between Israel and a new Palestinian state – based on the 1967 lines with one-to-one land swaps.
Once a border is set, we are confident that Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem like Ramot and Har Homa will be included within the state of Israel, at which point Israel can build as much or as little as it desires in those communities.
Until negotiations over the border have been finalized, we urge Israel to delay any further construction over the Green Line in the interest of its long-term security and survival as a democracy and as the homeland of the Jewish people.