State Department: We ‘Strongly Oppose’ Jews Building in Eastern Jerusalem

Part of the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, pictured on November 11, 2009

PHILADELPHIA – The State Department on Wednesday blasted a plan by the Israeli government to expand already existing Jewish communities in the eastern sections of Jerusalem.

All of the new homes are to be built on empty lots within those communities.

“We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace,” the State Department said in a statement. “These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”

The State Department is overlooking that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took unprecedented steps to jumpstart negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including freezing Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and releasing Palestinian prisoners.  Still, PA President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to even begin talks.

The U.S. government statement continues:

“In just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of the advancement of plans for 531 units in Ma’ale Adumim, 19 in Har Homa, 120 in Ramot, and 30 in Pisgat Ze’ev; the advancement of a plan to retroactively legalize an outpost near Ramallah; and the issuance of tenders for 42 units in Kiryat Arba.”

The Obama administration has been silent on rampant illegal Palestinian construction on Jewish-owned property in eastern sections of Jerusalem, including the construction of dozens of apartment buildings on  about 270 acres in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Qalandiya and Kfar Akev and about 50 acres in a north Jerusalem suburb known as Shoafat. The land is undisputedly owned by a U.S.-based Jewish group.

The Palestinian Authority and much of the international community says Israel is occupying the so-called pre-1967 borders, meaning the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Israel refers to the pre-1967 territories as disputed.

However, Abbas’s Fatah party, Hamas, and other major Palestinian factions routinely refer to the entire state of Israel as “occupied” territory.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, the only binding resolution pertaining to the West Bank, calls on Israel to withdraw under a future final-status solution “from territories occupied” as a result of the 1967 Six Day War.  The resolution does not call for a withdrawal from “all territories,” a designation deliberately left out to ensure Israel’s allowance under a future deal to retain some territory for security purposes.

The Jewish Virtual Library explains:

The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from “all the” territories occupied after the Six-Day war. This was quite deliberate. The Soviet delegate wanted the inclusion of those words and said that their exclusion meant “that part of these territories can remain in Israeli hands.” The Arab states pushed for the word “all” to be included, but this was rejected. They nevertheless asserted that they would read the resolution as if it included the word “all.” The British Ambassador who drafted the approved resolution, Lord Caradon, declared after the vote: “It is only the resolution that will bind us, and we regard its wording as clear.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.