J Street Statement on Approval of New Gilo Construction

November 17, 2009

J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement on the approval of new construction in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo:

J Street shares the White House’s dismay at the approval by the Jerusalem Planning Committee of 900 new housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.

Continued construction at this time in East Jerusalem and in West Bank settlements is potentially a fatal blow to hopes of achieving a two-state solution to the conflict. In our view, failure to achieve such a solution poses an existential threat to Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people.

While we appreciate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments that he would like to resume negotiations with the Palestinians quickly and without preconditions, actions speak louder than words.  And actions such as additional construction in Gilo at this moment only make ending the conflict more difficult.

Unilateral actions by either side – including a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood — undermine the work of President Obama, his team and other world leaders who seek to set internationally recognized borders that secure Israel’s Jewish character and create a viable Palestinian state.

J Street supports President Obama and Middle East Peace Envoy George Mitchell as they press forward with the hard work of achieving a two-state solution.