WASHINGTON – Three days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama met at the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a letter signed by 327 members of the House of Representatives expressing concern over the growing tensions between Israel and the US over construction in east Jerusalem.
The letter, initiated last week by a bipartisan slate of leaders, including US Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the US House of Representatives majority leader, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House minority leader, says, "differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies."
We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension. In every important relationship, there will be occasional misunderstandings and conflicts," read the letter.
The letter warns that the tensions are jeopardizing international efforts aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program, adding that in every relationship there are misunderstandings and differences.
The representatives added that they accept Netanyahu's apology to the Obama Administration for the announcement on the construction of 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, which came during Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to the Jewish state.
"We are reassured that Prime Minister Netanyahu's commitment to put in place new procedures will ensure that such surprises, however unintended, will not recur," they wrote.
The members of Congress further wrote that it is in the interest of the US to safeguard Israel's security while also preserving its independence.
"The United States and Israel are close allies whose people share a deep and abiding friendship based on a shared commitment to core values including democracy, human rights and freedom of the press and religion. Our two countries are partners in the fight against terrorism and share an important strategic relationship," said the representatives.
"A strong Israel is an asset to the national security of the United States and brings stability to the Middle East. We are concerned that the highly publicized tensions in the relationship will not advance the interests the U.S. and Israel share. Above all, we must remain focused on the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weapons program to Middle East peace and stability," they wrote in the letter.