Approval has been given by the Israeli government for construction of 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem. Israel's interior minister said that the homes would be built in Gilo, a Jewish enclave in southeast Jerusalem. The Palestinan claim that east Jerusalem is part of their territory and wish it to be their future capital.
Although the Palestinians have made it clear that the cessation of all Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank is a condition of any peace talks this has not deterred the Israelis from pressing on with new projects.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem is part of its capital and will not be divided. Although not recognised as such internationally Israel claims that east Jerusalem is simply part of Israel proper.
This move by Israel has been criticized by all those who at the same time fail to support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN. You would think that this move would show why the bid for statehood makes sense and the attempt to force peace talks now is fruitless.Just recently in an interview Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not freeze settlement construction again.
Of course those opposing thebid for statehood nevetheless made the appropriate bleats about the Israli move not being helpful. Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief said:"It is with deep regret that I learned today about the decision to advance in the plans for settlement expansion in east Jerusalem, with new housing units in Gilo," "This plan should be reversed. Settlement activity threatens the viability of an agreed two-state solution and runs contrary to the Israeli-stated commitment to resume negotiations," Of course the Israelis agreed to resume negotiation only unconditionally.
Richard Miron, spokesman for UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry was also critical. He said the Israeli decision was "very concerning'' and ignored the Quartet's appeal. The Quartet appealed to both sides to refrain from provocative actions. Miron said:"This sends the wrong signal at this sensitive time,'' Even Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state issued her own tut tut! She called Israel's decision to expand its settlement "counterproductive". It is not counterproductive as far as expanding Israeli settlements is concerned and grabbing more Palestinian land.
Obama will not punish Israel by voting in favor of statehood. Quite the opposite if it becomes necessary he will veto the resolution. Isn't this called moral hazard by economists? Encouraging bad behaviour?