Dovish groups oppose ‘unilateral actions’ in Jerusalem

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Five left-leaning, pro-Israel organizations teamed up to back the Obama administration’s opposition to "unilateral actions" in Jerusalem.

A statement released jointly by Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, Meretz USA and J Street says that "issues of borders and sovereignty related to Jerusalem should be determined through negotiations in the context of a regional, comprehensive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict" and "unilateral actions that inflame tensions, impair negotiations and make the ultimate resolution of issues surrounding Jerusalem more difficult are unhelpful and should be avoided at this particularly sensitive moment."

The statement comes a week and a half after the United States asked Israel not to continue with plans to build 20 apartments for Jewish residence in Sheik Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.

The five organizations also criticized those who have defended Israel’s right to build in the area.

The statement appears to be a response in part to a statement issued last week by the Conference of Presidents on the Jerusalem issue that said the organization found "disturbing" the objections raised to the Sheik Jarrah construction on property "that was legally purchased and approved by the appropriate authorities." It added that "the United States has in the past and recently raised objections to the removal of illegal structures built by Arabs in eastern Jerusalem even though they were built in violation of zoning and other requirements often on usurped land."

Americans for Peace Now and Ameinu are members of the Presidents Conference but said they were not consulted about its statement.

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