In the current round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the United States, which had forced a renewal of talks in the summer and has been moderating them, made its position crystal-clear on Wednesday.

“We consider now, and have always considered, the settlements to be illegitimate,” US Secretary of State John Kerry asserted, according to widespread media reports. To date (Thursday), there has been no official response from Jerusalem.

Kerry made the statement after PA President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel’s announcement that it had authorized 3,500 new homes in the ancient Jewish region of Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem.

Israel’s release last week of 26 Palestinian prisoners was part of a deal between Israel and Abbas that would include home construction in Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu explained.

Kerry said he was also aware of “tensions at the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount – Har Habayit in Hebrew], and I know that doesn’t sit well in the [Muslim] community,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

The tension apparently refers to increased demands by Jewish worshippers to gain equal access to Judaism’s holiest site, which, although located in east Jerusalem, is under control of the Jordanian Islamic Trust, known as the Wakf.

Few details of the current negotiations have been publicized, and there has been no indication of a breakthrough. Israel has expressed concern regarding its security needs.

“As in any negotiation there will be moments of up and moments of down, and it goes back and forth,” Kerry said, as reported by Reuters. “But I can tell you that President Obama and I are determined, and neither of us will stop in our efforts to pursue the possibility [of an agreement].”

According to historical record, there never was a Palestinian state.

Renanah Goldhar Gemeiner, a Canadian pro-Israel activist, declared: “Not only was Israel, including Judea and Samaria, given to us by God, but it is ours also under international law,” referring to the designation of Judea and Samaria as part of a Jewish homeland by the League of Nations in the early 20th century.

On Wednesday, according to Reuters, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh told Kerry:

“The Palestinians are committed to negotiations that would lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

Goldhar-Gemeiner warned against “allowing ourselves to be put into ghettos…[and] our land to be taken away, and ourselves to be put into a physical situation from which we cannot defend ourselves. Do we think that by sacrificing the Jews in Judea and Samaria, we in Tel Aviv will survive?”

Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer for United with Israel
Date: Nov. 7, 2013