More than 75 percent of Congressmen in the U.S.House of Representatives have signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing support for Israel and demanding an end to the highly-publicized state of tensions with Israel.
Signed by 327 Representatives, out of 435, the letter calls on Clinton and the Obama Administration to settle its disputes with Israel in a non-public and friendly fashion. The current tensions “will not advance the interests the U.S. and Israel share,” the letter states, as “above all, we must remain focused on the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weapons program to Middle East peace and stability."
The letter was initiated last week by leaders of both parties, including the top Representatives of each one: Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
Additional excerpts from the letter:
“We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel, and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension. In every important relationship, there will be occasional misunderstandings and conflicts… Differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies…
"We are reassured that Prime Minister Netanyahu's commitment to put in place new procedures will ensure that such surprises [a municipal Jerusalem announcement on approval of another step towards the construction of 1,600 apartments in a post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhood during U.S. Vice President Biden's recent visit to Israel], however unintended, will not recur.”
"The United States and Israel are close allies whose people[s] share a deep and abiding friendship based on a shared commitment to core values including democracy, human rights and freedom of the press and religion. Our two countries are partners in the fight against terrorism, and share an important strategic relationship…
Strong Israel is an Asset to U.S.
"A strong Israel is an asset to the national security of the United States and brings stability to the Middle East. We are concerned that the highly publicized tensions in the relationship will not advance the interests the U.S. and Israel share. Above all, we must remain focused on the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weapons program to Middle East peace and stability.”
Netanyahu returned on Thursday from Washington after a private meeting with President Obama. The lack of a press conference and photo-ops is widely viewed as an Obama snub of Netanyahu, though the excuse has been offered that the meeting was barely planned in advance.
Obama's One-Sided Demands on Israel
Obama demands that Netanyahu stop building in eastern Jerusalem and make a series of other gestures to the Palestinian Authority, while not demanding anything from the other side. Netanyahu has not agreed to do so, but met with his mini-cabinet of seven ministers on Friday to try to formulate a response. The ministers plan to meet again before the Passover holiday, which begins Monday night.