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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Israel's UN Ambassador: Internal improvements for Jewish communities in WB are necessary, not obstacle to peace.

The Palestinian line, which is picked up again today in the DM Register (p. 2A) is that "the biggest obstacle [to peace] is Israel's continued expansion of Jewish settlements ..."

When was the last time you've seen the media give Israel's side of the story?

According to Israel's UN ambassador Dan Gillerman:

DAN GILLERMAN: Israel has no policy of expanding or building new settlements. Israel is only doing what is absolutely necessary to accommodate the people who are already living there.

And I really do not believe that settlements, which has become sort of a coined word, is the obstacle. The real obstacle to peace is the extremism and fundamentalism of Hamas. The real obstacle to peace is terrorism.

As long as the Palestinians are set on killing and maiming Israeli civilians, babies and children, shelling our cities and our villages with rockets indiscriminately, there will be no peace. And if Saeb Erekat mentioned the road map, the first obligation under the road map is for the Palestinians to cease terror. That is the first obligation and the main obstacle.

And, therefore, you know, settlements, occupation, you know, we have Gaza as a model. Israel was in Gaza for many, many years. Israel left Gaza over two years ago, every single grain of sand, every inch of Gaza. The Palestinians then had two choices, one, to turn it into a place where their people would live well and improve their quality of life and standard of living, or make it into a launching pad for missiles to Israel and a terror base.

Sadly, tragically, not just for us, but for them, they chose the latter. There isn't a single Israeli in Gaza. There were, indeed, Israeli settlements in Gaza. They were totally removed. And we're still experiencing terror.

It's terror which is the impediment and the obstacle to peace, not settlements.
[From Gillerman's interview, along with Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat, on the PBS News Hour. A transcript of the program is available at ]