Ambassador Jones puts foot in mouth again

Ambassador Richard JonesThe US ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, who once announced that Jonathan Pollard was lucky not to have been executed, has done it again.

On Monday during a tour of Mea Shearim, a haredi neighborhood bordering on Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, US Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones told The Jerusalem Post that the US was “concerned about where things are built in Jerusalem.”

Referring to the overcrowded haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Jones said he was aware of the shortage of housing, but added: “Sometimes people do have to move to a different location. They cannot always stay close to their families.” — Jerusalem Post

Jones apparently believes that all areas which were not part of Israel between 1948 and 1967 belong to the Palestinians.

This contradicts UN resolution 242 (as interpreted by those who wrote it), the view of the Israeli government, and President Bush’s letter to PM Sharon of April 2004. All of these agree that borders will be decided by negotiations between the parties concerned, and will not necessarily be identical with the pre-1967 cease-fire lines.

Unfortunately, the idea that all of the territory that changed hands in 1967 is ‘Palestinian land’ is constantly repeated in anti-Israel circles and apparently this includes the US State Department.

Jones also seems to think that Israel is a banana republic whose policies can be micromanaged by the US.

Possibly Jones learned his skills as an assistant to Paul Bremer in the Coalition Provisional Authority, where many of the decisions were taken that resulted in the unhappy situation of the US today in Iraq. Or, when as Ambassador to Kuwait, he was alleged to have intervened on behalf of a Kuwaiti gasoline supplier which overcharged the US military $61 million.

I can agree with Jones on one point: sometimes people do have to move. Take, for example, the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

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