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Friday, December 28, 2007

Olmert agrees to construction freeze in Jerusalem

I have asked twice whether Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert agreed to a construction freeze in Jerusalem (or at least in the parts of Jerusalem that were not within Israel's borders between 1949-67). This morning, the truth comes out. Olmert Condi Rice's lap dog has agreed to a freeze.
As a result of the United States government's demands upon the government of Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ordered a halt to all construction in Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. So reports Army Radio (Galei Tzahal).

At issue are several projects, including a new tender for 307 housing units in Har Homa, in Jerusalem's southeast corner, as well as a new project in northern Jerusalem near the old Atarot airport. Both are located on land liberated during the Six Day War, over 41 years ago.


Olmert's office responded to the Army Radio report by saying that no decision had been made regarding a construction freeze and that Israel is obligated to act in accordance with the Road Map. The Road Map stipulates, in addition to a halt to Israeli settlement activity, the PA must "declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere." The claim that the PA must stop terrorism has been used by Israeli negotiators in the past.

Now, however, even though terrorism has continued nearly unabated - including not only by Hamas and Islamic Jihad but also by Abbas-led Fatah - Israel has now agreed to stop all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, as well as in many of the outlying neighborhoods of its capital city.

The Army Radio report noted that Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had tried to explain at last month's Annapolis conference that Har Homa should not be included in the construction ban, as it is an integral part of Jerusalem. However, the Americans and the PA did not accept this stance, and Olmert therefore decided to fall in line with the Bush Administration.

That sound you hear is Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu and Eli Yishai of Shas making excuses for keeping their seats in the government.


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