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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Breaking: Deal reached on 'settlement freeze'?

Reuters is reporting that the United States and Israel have reached a deal on a 'settlement freeze.' The report is based on the Hebrew newspaper Maariv, which does not have an English-language site. Both Israel and the United States have declined comment.
Maariv reported that Washington had agreed to the continued construction of 700 buildings, containing 2,500 housing units, in West Bank settlements.

A report in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Israel's most popular newspaper, was more cautious, saying Israel and the United States were "close to an agreement on settlements". It also cited the same housing figures.

Yedioth Ahronoth quoted unidentified cabinet ministers, who attended Barak's briefing, as saying reports of a U.S.-Israeli deal had been sealed were wishful thinking on the part of the defence chief.
Note that there is no mention of the other open issues on the freeze: The Americans were demanding that it include Jerusalem and the freeze's length is not discussed. It is also not clear whether these 700 buildings are only in the 'settlement blocs' or also in other parts of Judea and Samaria.

For those of you who are Hebrew-enabled, the Maariv report is here.

In addition to what Reuters mentions, Maariv reports that if there is a 'settlement freeze,' it will only be in the context of a regional negotiation that includes Syria and Lebanon. A 'senior diplomatic source' explained that Israel will only be required to freeze 'settlements' in the context of an international conference convened by President Obama in which the Arab countries demonstrate an undertaking to be part of the process.

Separately, sources close to Defense Minister Barak claim that the level of tension with the White House has declined.

If I were a betting man, I would say that if this is the deal they reached, the 'freeze' will never happen.



At 5:45 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

There won't be one. The reported condition is an exception wide enough to drive a truck through and its not all certain the US will accept it because in practice, it means no settlement freeze at all. Its wishful thinking.

I don't see Ehud Barak being able to sell a complete freeze as demanded by the Americans to the security cabinet. And what would be in it for Israel? Inquiring minds would like to know.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Another broken promise?? What has this president done yet that was promised in the campaign? His foreign policy has been so far a disaster. Oh and by the way, so has his domestic policy. A one-termer for sure. And Israel, don't get to confident about those settlements. You may want to be looking for housin in Tele Viv before that happens.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Iron Chef Kosher! said...

May Obama continue to disappoint all "anti-Israelis".

(Which he's only doing because he needs Israel to do our dirty work with Iran...)


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