NEW YORK (JTA) – New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn considers the West Bank “disputed territory” and said she would advocate for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The comment, made in an email to JTA in response to a question at an Orthodox Union event Wednesday, comes two weeks after one of Quinn’s rivals in the race, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, stirred controversy with his comments on the status of the West Bank.
“Chris believes the West Bank is a disputed territory and that the Israelis and Palestinians must sit down and negotiate a solution,” said a spokesman for Quinn, the speaker of the New York City Council. “As Mayor, Chris will use the bully pulpit of the office and everything she can to urge the two sides to sit and negotiate a peaceful resolution of the conflict through the establishment of two states for two peoples that ensures safety and security for the State of Israel.”
Quinn’s position runs counter to that of the U.S. government, which considers the West Bank Israel-occupied territory.
The distinction is significant to both Israelis and Palestinians. “Disputed” suggests that the Palestinians have no more right to the territory than Israel, which captured the land from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War. “Occupied” suggests that it is Palestinian territory occupied by Israel. Successive U.S. administrations have opposed Israeli Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank as obstructive to a two-state solution. The State Department under President Carter ruled that Israeli settlements were “inconsistent with international law”; the Obama administration has used the term “illegitimate.”
Earlier this year, in late June, Weiner was asked whether he considers the West Bank occupied territory. He said, “The status of that area is left to be decided by the people who are there.” Asked to clarify, Weiner said, “There are disagreements about what constitutes the West Bank.”
Quinn also has said the United States must recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
At the O.U. event Wednesday, Quinn also talked about her positions on issues relating to Jewish day schools, saying she supports better security for schools, enhanced special education programs and fewer administrative hearings for parents of special education students.
Quinn also said she wants to eliminate hate crimes in New York.
“It’s not acceptable that mezuzahs were burned in Williamsburg or that a man in Greenwhich Village was killed because he was gay,” said Quinn, who is gay. “I want to make New York City the first hate crime free city.”
This article has been revised to explain more clearly the positions of various U.S. administrations.