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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Forget about overflight rights

Remember how the Obama administration has been making such a big deal about allowing El Al flights on their way to Asia to overfly Arab countries and how that would be the 'concession' that Israel would get for a 'settlement freeze'? In a conference call with 'Jewish leaders' on Wednesday, the administration said that the overfly rights are now off the table even if Israel agrees to a freeze.
The White House official said the Netanyahu government had given the White House a heads up before announcing about 450 new housing starts in settlements earlier this month. Netanyahu needed the starts to justify a freeze to his right flank, was how the Israelis explained it.

White House officials countered to the Israelis that they had lined up a number of Arab states ready to make key symbolic concessions Netanyahu has demanded in exchange for a freeze: overflights for Israeli civilian aircraft, opening trade interest sections, visas for Israelis, etc.Netanyahu says he needs this to sell the peace process to a skeptical Israeli public.

Certainly, not all 23 Arab states were on board, the official said, but a significant number had made specific "deposits" of what they intended to do once a freeze was announced. That would coallpse if Israel announced the new starts, the official said.

Sure enough, that's what happened, he said: The "deposits" are off the table for now, even if Israel freezes settlements.
I wonder how many 'deposits' there were and if they ever really existed. I'd guess not many. But we may never know.

How many Israelis travel to Asia every year anyway? Feh.


At 10:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel should quietly drop negotiations with the US. There is no point in agreeing to a concession for nothing. The Arabs have given no sign they will drop their visceral hostility towards the Jewish State even in exchange for a partial freeze. And its unlikely they ever will.

The day for peace in the Middle East is a long ways off.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Mervyn Doobov said...

I occasionally fly to the far-East (Hong Kong or Bangkok) on my way to visit family in Australia. I do not find the thought of shortening the journey by overflying gesturing Arab countries appealing.


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