Rep. Shelley Berkley’s office called the Political Eye this morning to confess the statement it provided with her view on the dispute between the White House and Israel was a draft and not the final version that was issued on Saturday.
In the first paragraph of the newer statement, she changes "Israel-Palestine" to "Israeli-Palestinian." In the second paragraph, she replaces the word "partner" with the word "broker."
There is no change in her view that the United States is overreacting in its criticism of Israel for moving forward with a new settlement in East Jerusalem.
The changes are seemingly minor, but in the language of diplomacy where individual words and indeed punctuation can be interpreted to speak volumes, Berkley’s office asked that the revised version be the one considered for the record.
So here it is:
“I am deeply concerned over the comments of the last two days by the Vice President and the Secretary of State. They assert that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the special 60-year bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Israel have been jeopardized by this week’s announcement that Israel plans to build housing units in East Jerusalem.
“The Administration’s strong implication that the enduring alliance between the U.S. and Israel has been weakened, and that America’s ability to broker talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities has been undermined, is an irresponsible overreaction. No doubt the administration’s overwrought rhetoric is designed to try to appease Palestinian politicians and convince them the U.S. is an honest broker in the peace process by seizing every available opportunity to criticize the actions of our ally Israel.
“That strategy also includes ignoring the myriad provocations by Palestinian leaders that make pursuing peace such a long and arduous process. Where, I ask, was the Administration’s outrage over the arrest and month-long incarceration by Hamas of a British journalist who was investigating arms-smuggling into Gaza? Where was the outrage when the Palestinian Authority this week named a town square after a woman who helped carry out a massive terror attack against Israel? It has been the PA who has refused to participate in talks for over a year, not the government of Israel. Yet once again, no concern was lodged by the Administration. And, all the while, Hamas restocks its terror arsenal and fires rockets into Israel.
“I advocate an even-handed, not a one-sided, U.S. policy as we do the difficult work of establishing peace, and eventually, a Palestinian state. These are critical goals for our nation and for the future of the Middle East. We owe the process nothing less than fairness, candor, and intellectual honesty, not a policy of constant appeasement and reinforcement of the Palestinians’ failings as legitimate partners in the peace process.
“I strongly believe that despite this week’s flap over Israel’s announcement regarding housing construction, the U.S.-Israel relationship is strong and our partnership in pursuit of peace remains undiminished. I call on the White House to rethink its counterproductive rhetoric and to affirm that the U.S. and Israel remain united in pursuing a fair, equitable, and honest peace process with the Palestinian powers that be.”