Calling Obama’s condemnation of Jewish housing in Jerusalem as “unAmerican” or not “the American way” was a brilliant stroke. It harkens back to the day that Communists in America were accused of “unAmerican” activities. Ted Belman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Sweden’s announcement it will recognize a Palestinian state, saying “Unilateral steps are in contradiction to past agreements, and they do not contribute to peace, but rather distance it.”
“Peace will be achieved only by negotiation between the sides.” Netanyahu added.
On Friday, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that his new government was going to recognize a Palestinian state, the statement led to a diplomatic crisis, with Israel summoning Sweden’s ambassador for a reprimand talk at the Foreign Ministry.
Meanwhile, the Swedes have clarified their position in a statement, saying they will recognize a Palestinian state achieved through peace negotiations with Israel.
Speaking to US media, Netanyahu dismissed a recent White House rebuke of settlement construction, saying in comments broadcast on Sunday that the criticism goes “against American values.”
The tough words by Netanyahu threatened to deepen a rift with the White House over Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel came under fire last week after a Jerusalem city official signed the final go-ahead for construction of a new housing development in Givat Hamatos, in southern Jerusalem, beyond the Green Line. A day earlier, an ultranationalist Jewish group said dozens of settlers would move into six apartment buildings purchased in the heart of the predominantly Arab neighborhood Silwan in East Jerusalem.
In a striking public rebuke last week, the Obama administration warned Israel that the new project would distance Israel from “even its closest allies” and raise questions about its commitment to seeking peace with Palestinians.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Netanyahu said he does not accept restrictions on where Jews could live, and said that Jerusalem’s Arabs and Jews should be able to buy homes wherever they want.
He said he was “baffled” by the American condemnation. “It’s against the American values. And it doesn’t bode well for peace,” he said. “The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it’s anti-peace.” The interview was recorded Thursday.
The White House declined comment.