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No one can deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, which is and forever will be Israel's capital. Likewise, no one can deny the deep Palestinian connections to Jerusalem, which they view as the only possible capital of a future.

In this context, Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem - construction and policies for the sole benefit of Jewish Israelis in areas of the city annexed by Israel after 1967 - take on particular significance. They destabilize the city, undermine any Israeli-Palestinian political process, and directly threaten the two-state solution. They alter the delicate status quo, seek to prejudice the outcome of negotiations, and create obstacles to an agreed-upon solution in the city. Indeed, if current trends continue, the day will soon come when the demography and geography of Jerusalem are so Balkanized that a solution in Jerusalem is no longer possible. And if there is no solution in Jerusalem, there is no two-state, conflict-ending resolution.

Those who support settlement in East Jerusalem and oppose negotiations over the future of the city are in effect calling for Israel to live forever by the sword. A mutually-agreeable, negotiated solution for Jerusalem is possible, consistent with the principle that Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem would be under Palestinian control, Jewish areas under Israeli control, and the Old City under special arrangements agreed to by both sides - as postulated numerous times in the past.

APN believes the American people and their elected officials should clearly and publicly oppose Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem and support a negotiated solution on the future of Jerusalem.

(Feb. 2011)