Democratic Congresswoman Berkley: Ensure Normal Life in Settlements Near "Green Line"

[Jerusalem Post] Herb Keinon - Shelley Berkley, 58, a six-term Democratic congresswoman from Las Vegas and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says that the U.S. administration's public "dressing down" of Israel over the settlement issue has been counterproductive. She also has little faith that either PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, or the moderate Arab world, will deliver the goods that Obama expects. "Year after year we seem to be stuck in the same situation, and I think he [Abbas] has done very little over the years in preparing his own people for peace," she said, pointing to the Fatah conference in Bethlehem as an example. "I don't think it was particularly productive to publicly dress down our most reliable ally," she said. "I think it puts both countries, who are in fact very close friends, strategic partners and allies, in a bit of a bind. And I think the Palestinians and the Arabs are using this to create a division that might not necessarily be there." "I believe Israel has given up a great deal over the years for peace," Berkley said. "It gave up the Sinai to have peace with Egypt. It withdrew from Lebanon and got Hizbullah. It unilaterally left Gaza. So to suggest that natural growth in the settlements is the cause for Palestinian inaction is, I think, absurd. There is nothing in history to demonstrate that if all the settlements went away tomorrow, the Arabs would then be any more willing to recognize Israel's right to exist." She said it was "appropriate" to ensure normal life in settlements near the Green Line that would remain part of Israel in any agreement.

2009-08-17 06:00:00

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