National Security Adviser James Jones spoke last night at the American Task Force on Palestine gala. There was a wide range of Middle East policymakers and experts among the 600 in attendance — Obama administration officials Dan Shapiro and Dennis Ross, J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami, The Israel Project founder and president Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and former Bush administration official Elliott Abrams were among those spotted. Here’s the brief:
National Security Adviser James Jones called for a "reopening of the crossings" from Israel into the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at the American Task Force on Palestine gala on Thursday evening, Jones said that "as we defend Israel’s right to self-defense, we do not accept the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza." He said any opening of the crossing must have "an appropriate monitoring regime to allow for the entry" of goods into the territory, a reiteration of the U.S. position on the issue.
Jones also restated the U.S. call for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
In addition, the national security adviser restated the Obama administration’s call to "relaunch negotations without preconditions to reach a final status agreement" between the Israelis and Palestinians, noting that "we must move beyond talking about talks and get to the hard work of addressing the core issues."
Palestinian Authority negotiators have made a total settlement freeze a precondition of a relaunch of negotiations; Israelis insist negotiations must only address borders and want to leave out Jerusalem and refugees.
Jones also was supportive of a Palestinian Authority plan to "build the institutions of a Palestinian state" over the next two years, saying that P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have "taken responsibility for their own fate and focused on what the Palestinian Authority can build now to shape the future instead of waiting for the conflict to be resolved before this important work can be done."