Biden, Kerry at AIPAC: Israel Must Stop Building in Yesha
Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic Senator John Kerry told the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby Tuesday that Israel must freeze all building in Judea and Samaria and make further concessions to the Palestinian Authority.
Their speeches preceded by several hours a visit by President Shimon Peres to U.S. President Barack Obama, who has fulfilled his post-election commitment to “hit the ground running” in order to return Israel and the PA to the table for discussions on a new PA state.
“You are not going to like my saying this but [do] not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement," the vice president told the delegates.
Both speeches represented an increasingly intense across-the-board campaign in the Obama government to force Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to accept the “two-state solution.” The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit President Obama later this month and is to be followed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told AIPAC via video on Monday that he wants to return to the negotiating table without any pre-conditions, but Abbas immediately rejected the offer, charging that the Israeli leader "is only playing with words."
In his speech to AIPAC on Tuesday, Vice President Biden called on Arab terrorists to halt attacks on Israel and to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
However, Sen. Kerry was more explicit in his demands for Arabs to be more moderate towards Israel. He noted the continuing “poisonous rhetoric” in the Arab and PA school system. Eliminating incitement was one of the conditions that the PA was to fulfill before reaching the stage of final talks for the creation of a new Arab state on the land of Judea, Gaza and Samaria. Immediate past U.S. Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said she was skipping over the step, which is part of the original Roadmap plan of the Bush administration.