Clinton: Israel’s East Jerusalem home demolitions "unhelpful"
Ramallah – Ma’an – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said Israel’s plan to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is “unhelpful.”
"Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the Road Map," Clinton said at a Ramallah news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality is moving to demolish over 100 houses and remove the 140 families who live in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. The decision is expected to lead to the forced displacement of more than 1,000 Palestinians from their family residences.
"It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem," she added, shortly after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The US secretary of state said she would bring up the issue with the new Israeli government, likely to be headed by Likud Party chair Benyamin Netanyahu.
Clinton met earlier with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at the headquarters of the Council of Ministers in Ramallah, but no remarks were immediately available from that meeting.
Clinton arrived in Israel on Monday, where she met with the Israeli president, prime minister-designate and foreign minister, and insisted that America's policy remains a two-state solution to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
The US secretary of state said America’s assessment is “that eventually, the inevitability of working towards a two-state solution is inescapable."
The remarks came following meetings alongside both Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
On Wednesday Clinton reiterated that the United States would be “vigorously engaged” in the peace process, and that she would be “personally engaged.”
“I hold this mission in my heart, not just in my portfolio,” she said.
Netanyahu has historically rejected the creation of a Palestinian state, which would involve Israel withdrawing from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but of late has offered limited expressions that Palestinians ought to rule themselves. The charter of Netanyahu’s Likud party calls for Israel to maintain control over all the land occupied in 1967.
The issue of an increasingly right wing government in Israel also came up during the Ramallah news conference. Abbas said that “we respect the choice of the Israeli people” but that the Israeli government must commit to the two-state solution and to the Road Map.
Clinton said that the US would wait for Netanyahu to finish forming a ruling coalition before sending Special Envoy George Mitchell back to the region for another round of peace talks.