This takes crust. Benjamin Netanyahu went on Face the Nation yesterday and lectured the U.S. on open housing and “ethnic purification” even as he’s trying to swallow up Jerusalem for the Jewish state.
After your meeting with the president last week, the White House issued what some call “a very sharp rebuke,” host Bob Schieffer began. That statement, by State’s Jen Psaki, was that the latest Israeli settlement announcement would alienate Israel from its closest allies and doom the two-state solution.
Netanyahu said three times that he was “baffled” by the criticism.
Well, first of all I had a very good meeting with the president. And I was baffled by this statement. Because it doesn’t reflect American values. What we’re being criticized for is that some Jewish residents of Jerusalem bought apartments legally from Arabs in a predominantly Arab neighborhood. And this is seen as as terrible thing. You know Arabs in East Jerusalem, Palestinians, buy apartments, thousands of them in the Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem. Nobody says you can’t do it. If I said to you some place in the United States, Jews cannot buy apartments here. There’d be an uproar. I don’t accept this thing.
I mean, Jews can buy private homes in Arab neighborhoods, Arabs can buy private homes in Jewish neighborhoods. It’s their right. We don’t want to accept something else. And I was absolutely baffled by this. It’s against the American values and it doesn’t bode well for peace. The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace– I think it’s anti-peace. I think it works against peace. I don’t think it’s a principle that should be condoned, it should be condemned.
Did the president bring it up in the meeting? Schieffer asked. Nope, Netanyahu said.
He raised the general issue of settlements, and I said I think we should address the larger issue… Are the Palestinians ready to recognize a nation state for the Jewish people, the way that we are willing to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people. Are they finally willing to come to grips with the existence of Israel and can we create security conditions on the ground? … That remains the real issue. We talked at that level, we did not talk in the specifics of this particular criticism.
You’re about to announce a larger settlement? Schieffer asked.
It’s not a settlement. These are neighborhoods of East Jerusalem… This is three minutes from my office. This is just a neighborhood in Jerusalem. And in this neighborhood that is now being planned, there are about 2400 units. What they didn’t tell you is that 700 of those units are designated for the Arab residents of Jerusalem. They need housing, the Jewish residents of Jerusalem need housing. Why shouldn’t it be? What is this affront to peace. Why can’t Jews and Arabs live together?
I think actually this whole line, that says that Jews cannot buy apartments in Jerusalem, you know, the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3000 years, since King David, or you cannot have mixed housing projects for Jews and Arabs, I think this is anti-peace. I think condemning it is wrong. I’m frankly baffled by it, I think it’s not the American way.
Amazing performance; and Schieffer was completely flatfooted. Israel is completely the Judaization of Jerusalem. Here is Peace Now’s analysis of the latest settlement, Givat Hamatos,which it says is designated for Israelis, not Palestinians, and is intended to ring East Jerusalem with Jewish settlements, foreclosing any possibility of a Palestinian capital in the city, a linchpin of the two-state solution. Netanyahu’s argument would be like Saddam Hussein saying, it’s racist not to allow Iraqis to build or buy in (occupied) Kuwait. And note that Jews can live anywhere they want around the city, but tens of thousands of Palestinians are prohibited from moving back to stolen property in West Jerusalem.
Note that Obama doesn’t bring things up with Netanyahu in their meeting. Obama is said to loathe Netanyahu. Just going through his paces when they meet. Nothing substantive.