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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And then what?

Haaretz reports on yet another surrender idea from the Obama administration:
One of the U.S. administration's requests to Israel regarding the peace process with the Palestinians is a four-month construction freeze in all parts of East Jerusalem. In exchange, the United States would pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold direct talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instead of the indirect talks to which the Palestinians have agreed.

An official in Jerusalem said the U.S. administration is demanding that Israel freeze construction in East Jerusalem, including Jewish neighborhoods such as Neveh Yaakov, French Hill and of course Ramat Shlomo, which sparked the recent tensions between Israel and the United States.

The freeze would last four months, the time frame the Arab League has authorized for indirect talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.


The Americans say that if Netanyahu agrees to freeze construction for four months, direct talks will be possible between the two sides in that period.
This is what is known in Hebrew as shitat ha'salami (the salami method). You keep slicing off pieces as you head toward your goal of finishing the salami before the other side notices. So let's look at this proposal: During the next four months, which coincide with the less than four months remaining in the now-revoked Arab League approval for the 'Palestinians' to use George Mitchell as a gofer between us and him, Israel will freeze all(?) construction in 'east' Jerusalem (does that include Ramat Eshkol, Ramot and Sanhedria Murchevet?). In return, the US will try to get the 'Palestinians' to agree to direct talks with Israel as was the case until the Obama administration took power. And then? What if the 'Palestinians' haven't agreed to direct talks yet when the four months end? What if they have agreed but they haven't started yet? What if they've agreed and they've started talking but (as will almost certainly be the case) nothing has been resolved yet? Obama will undoubtedly 'ask' Israel to extend the four month suspension, as he already has with the ten month freeze in Judea and Samaria that isn't even up until the end of August. And then?

And while we're at it, why shouldn't the freeze go all the way and freeze Arab construction in 'east' Jerusalem as well? Why are our 'facts on the ground' problematic while theirs aren't?

But it seems that some members of Netanyahu's seven-member inner cabinet are being taken in by this proposal (or are starting to believe the drivel being promoted by Israel's Leftist media):
In discussions of the forum of seven senior cabinet ministers, the general view is that it will be impossible to publicly announce a freeze of construction in East Jerusalem. However, one possibility is that it will be possible to reach a tacit agreement with the U.S. administration on construction in East Jerusalem.


According to this idea, Israel would make it clear to the United States that during the coming four months no massive construction in East Jerusalem neighborhoods would be planned or carried out, enabling Israel to be seen as meeting the American and Palestinian demands.
Fortunately, most of the cabinet seems to be opposed to the idea.
During the forum of seven's discussions, Avigdor Lieberman, Moshe Ya'alon, Benny Begin and Eli Yishai took a more hawkish view of the situation, while Ehud Barak and Dan Meridor recommended that a "creative solution" be found. This solution would offer the administration a "yes, but..." answer, through which Israel would express a number of reservations, with an emphasis on a construction freeze in East Jerusalem.

In an interview with Haaretz in December, Abbas hinted that he could be persuaded to accept a "silent freeze" of construction in East Jerusalem. Abbas said he had proposed in a conversation with Defense Minister Barak that Israel freeze construction in East Jerusalem for six months without announcing it.
Haaretz says that the cabinet won't be meeting on this again until after Pesach (which ends next Monday night) and that Obama has other demands for us about Jerusalem as well.

What could go wrong?


At 7:06 PM, Blogger Y.K. said...

Meridor and Barak

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Y.K. said...

Meridor and Barak are known Leftists, so that's not a surprise. The happy news is that none of the other cabinet members broke ranks (e.g. Bergman reported that the decision about a "Shalit deal" with Hamas broke 3-3 in the cabinet and then Nethanyahu had to vote against, so someone other than M or B had to vote in favor).

At 8:12 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Who would trust Obama to keep his word?



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