Ackerman explains Israel remarks


U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) explained remarks that were critical of Israel.

The Orthodox Union had challenged Ackerman to explain why he had said in a hearing last week that some of Israel’s actions had “made a mockery of nascent Palestinian efforts to put just a little authority back in the Palestinian Authority.” The reference was to difficulties, including Israeli obstructions, that P.A. troops have faced in training and arming to face down extremists.

In a letter Wednesday to Nathan Diament, the O.U.’s Washington director, Ackerman emphasized that he upheld Israel’s obligation to defend itself.

“Nevertheless, Israel faces a real security dilemma that, as successive Israeli prime ministers have recognized, necessitates the establishment of a separate and peaceful Palestinian state in order to preserve Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state,” he wrote. “Somehow, the Palestinian Authority, flawed though it is, has to be made into a partner which can not only sign an agreement, but actually implement its terms and obligations.”

Ackerman, who is Jewish, is the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Middle East subcommittee.

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