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Friday, June 26, 2009

G8 jumps on the 'settlement freeze' bandwagon

In a statement issued on Friday, the G8 foreign ministers called for Israel to agree to a 'settlement freeze.'
On the Middle East, the G8 called on all parties to "re-enter direct negotiations on all standing issues consistent with the roadmap" and it called for a freeze in Jewish settlement construction on the occupied West Bank.

"We also call on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the road map, including a freeze in settlement activity (as well as their 'natural growth') and an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism," the statement read.

"We call on all parties to re-enter direct negotiations on all standing issues consistent with the road map, the relevant UNSC resolutions and the Madrid principles...
So does that mean that the 'Palestinians' have to stop 'settlement activity' too? Fat chance.

According to Israel Radio, the statement was adopted unanimously. Israel had been hopeful that Italy would vote against it after a positive meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi earlier this week, but that hope was in vain. I guess the Italians can't stand up to American pressure either.
At a joint news conference after talks lasting about two hours, Berlusconi endorsed Netanyahu's plan for a future demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as a "Jewish state." That means that Palestinians must give up any notion of refugees who left what is now Israel — or their millions of descendants — resettling in their former homes.

And although the U.S. says emphatically that Israel must call an immediate halt to all forms of Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank, Berlusconi was more gentle, speaking only of the need for Israel "to send signals" on stopping settlement.

"It was a very warm welcome," an upbeat Netanyahu briefed Israel-based journalists traveling with him after the Berlusconi meeting. "It would be hard to find a better friend."
So much for that.

In an interview with Israel Radio this afternoon, Alon Pinkas, formerly Israel's consul general in New York, argued that Netanyahu has 4-6 weeks to come up with a 'plan' to move the 'peace process' forward, or the Obama administration is likely to impose one on him. Pinkas noted that Ariel Sharon, who was faced with a similar situation with the much more friendly Bush administration in power in 2003, ended up with the 'road map' dumped on him. Pinkas said that the Obama administration has clearly not accepted Netanyahu's speech as resolving anything, noting that it had good intentions but was short on substance.

In the present circumstances, it is unfortunately difficult to argue with Pinkas. The problem is that any plan that would be acceptable to most Israelis - let alone Netanyahu - is not going to be acceptable to Obama. We may reach the point where we have to accept that a conforntation is going to happen and hope that some of our friends in Congress step up to the plate. Even most of the Democrats in Congress, except for real Obamozombies like Bob Wexler and Gary Ackerman, understand that the focus that Obama is placing on 'settlements' is unproductive.


At 4:05 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Too bad. As I mentioned in the previous thread, its not going to bring peace closer. The G8's endorsement of the American stand will have the opposite effect upon the already moribund peace process.

What could go wrong indeed

At 6:15 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Quartet over the weekend also jumped on the bandwagon. All the demands were directed at Israel, none at the Palestinians.

For the PA's Abbas, this is the song he wants the rest of the world to play from now on.

What could go wrong indeed


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