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Foxman: Obama should end unilateral statehood threat

WASHINGTON (JTA) — After meeting with Israeli leaders, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman called on the Obama administration to “close all doors” to a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood.

The Anti-Defamation League leader, speaking to JTA from Jerusalem after meeting Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others, said it was his impression that the Palestinians are accelerating plans to have the U.N. Security Council recognize a unilaterally declared state.

“The Palestinians are engaged in an effort to see if they can pre-emptively establish a state,” Foxman said. “They seem to be engaged in this fantasy that the world will deliver them a state with very little. What it takes is for the U.S. to close every exit door and say ‘Get off this kick, you will not have our support.’ ”

The Palestinian Authority suspended direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks last month, barely weeks after they were renewed, because Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month partial moratorium on settlement building.

The Obama administration wants Israel to extend the freeze, and has offered Netanyahu a package of incentives of diplomatic and security guarantees as an inducement.

Foxman suggested that Netanyahu might be more forthcoming about extending the freeze if the Palestinians stand down from threats of unilateral statehood.

“I believe there will be an extension of the settlement freeze,” he said, barring the “disincentive” of activity toward a unilateral statehood declaration.

Foxman cast his appeal in terms of Obama’s commitment to Jewish leaders in the summer of 2009 to equally pressure both sides.

The Obama administration “continues to press Israel on settlements but doesn’t press the Palestinians on anything,” he said. “I’m not sure it has learned from its mistakes.”

Also Tuesday, Foxman visited a Tel Aviv school attended by students from nearly 40 countries, where he met with the children of migrant workers who could be deported in the coming weeks or days.

"We care about you, and in the spirit of Jewish values, we will do all we can to ensure that you remain in Israel," Foxman said at the Rogosin-Bialik School. "I am here with you today in solidarity, not against the government of Israel but in standing up for what is best in the Jewish people, what is best in Jewish values, what is best in the Jewish and democratic state of Israel."

Foxman raised the issue of the threatened deportation of the children during his meetings with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

In August, ADL called on the government of Israel to extend, on humanitarian grounds, the protection of legal status to all of the children of migrant workers now in Israel.

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