U.S. bishops visiting the Holy Land on Sept. 11 said an on-the-ground tour about the situation in East Jerusalem heightened their awareness of the settlement issue in the divided city. “The expansion of settlements is quickly driving [the possibility of a two-state solution] off the drawing board,” said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. During a two-hour tour, the Israeli attorney and activist Daniel Seidemann shared his concerns for the increasingly shrinking window of opportunity to push forward the concept of the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He said that while the Israeli enclaves embedded in East Jerusalem remain small, with at most 2,500 Israeli Jews living there, it is still possible to withdraw them, but that if the settlements continue to expand, the situation will become more complicated.
U.S. Bishops Visit East Jerusalem