5/21/2009: Security News Brief: Jerusalem, Palestinian Capital, so says Obama:
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been assured that US President Barack Obama's new peace plan includes a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem.
PA officials told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot that the US intends to stand by its policy that East Jerusalem should be the Palestinian capital. Obama is expected to roll out the peace plan in Cairo on 4 June.
The plan also calls for Israel to freeze settlement activity, and a clear timetable for the establishment of a Palestinian state, negotiated under the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative. The newspaper said the US is expected to ask Arab states also to set a timeline for establishing normalized diplomatic ties with Israel.
Meanwhile US Senators sent a letter to Obama asking him to take into account "risks [Israel will] face in any peace agreement."
The letter, signed by 76 US senators, or more than three quarters of the upper chamber of the congress, urged Obama to “continue to insist on the absolute Palestinian commitment to ending terrorist violence and to building the institutions necessary for a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side, in peace with the Jewish state of Israel,” according to Yediot.
A similar letter is reported to have garnered 200 signatures in the House of Representatives.
On his two-day visit to Washington, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did face demands to halt construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Democratic Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised the settlement issue saying, "I emphasized to the prime minister the importance of moving forward, especially in respect to the settlement issue," according to Reuters.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also told reporters that, while hosting Netanyahu for dinner on Monday night, she stressed Obama’s view that "he wants to see a stop to the settlements."
Previous attempts, throughout the 17-year-old peace process, to compel Israel to halt settlements have failed. The charter of Netayahu’s Likud Party dictates that Israel refuse to give up any territory in its control.
Source: Morning Security News Brief via Internal Company News Wire-Palistine-General Secretariat