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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Peres proposes a compromise

With the Obama administration waiting for the answer it wants on Israeli construction for Jews in 'east' Jerusalem, and with Prime Minister Netanyahu's government having given the only answer it apparently intends to give, Israel's President, Shimon Peres, has stepped into the breach and attempted to formulate a compromise.
While Israeli officials were not talking about their discussions with Obama administration officials, the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, who has served as a bridge between Mr. Netanyahu and the Obama administration in the past, floated a possible compromise formula of his own.

While addressing schoolchildren in the central Israeli city of Holon, Mr. Peres suggested making a distinction between Israeli building in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem that were erected after 1967, and in the Arab neighborhoods where the majority of the city’s Palestinian population lives.

“Previous governments built in Jewish neighborhoods according to the new map and avoided construction in Arab neighborhoods,” Mr. Peres said. “The Palestinians and we decided to continue as such in the past until we reach an agreed upon map.”
The Times reports that the Obama administration is unlikely to accept the compromise.
Given the severity of the current crisis, however, it is doubtful that an Israeli commitment to refrain from building in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, as Mr. Peres has proposed, will be enough to satisfy the Americans’ demands.
It's been nearly 43 years since Jerusalem was reunited. It is beyond absurd to continue with a charade in which Jewish (but not Arab) building is held in limbo in the hope that maybe, someday, the 'Palestinians' and their Arab patrons will accept the existence of a Jewish state in the Levant, enabling the conflict to be ended.

Moreover, Peres' formula leaves much unresolved. For example, the article mentions the houses in Shimon HaTzadik/Sheikh Jarrah. Those are Jewish-owned houses from which the Arab residents were evicted for non-payment of rent(!). On what basis should that be stopped? What 'construction' is there to suspend there?

In Silwan, which is also mentioned, the City of Jerusalem was ordered by Netanyahu to stop enforcing its zoning laws. How long can that situation persist? What zoning laws should we choose not to enforce.

What about projects under construction on the Mount of Olives (Ras al-Amud) that are being constructed on land that is privately owned by Jews?

Finally, there always was Jewish land ownership in predominantly Arab neighborhoods of the City. Ariel Sharon owns a home in the 'Muslim quarter' of Jerusalem's Old City and has for more than 30 years. There is a yeshiva (probably more than one, but I spent a Sabbath in one thirty years ago) and several synagogues in the Muslim quarter. Would Peres propose to expel them? To prohibit them from making improvements to buildings they have owned for more than thirty years?

This is not the time to cut back on Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem to satisfy the pique of an anti-Israel administration in the White House. Netanyahu is going to have to say no.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger Y.K. said...

This is a typical case of Peres being too clever for his (and our) own good.

Literally, in his "compromise" Israel won't give in much, and all of your examples will be allowed (Amusingly, one wonders if Israel can allow Arab construction under it).

However, the history is that Obama comes to an understanding with Israel and then demands more on various spurious grounds. This "compromise" is rewarding Obama for his insolence and has more than enough gray area to allow him to demand even more later, all while undermining Israeli sovereignty.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel should not compromise its sovereignty over its capital. That should be a red line. Shimon Peres is an idiot who really doesn't understand the root of the issue - either Israel is a sovereign country or it isn't. And any compromise Israel might offer won't be enough for the Palestinians - they want the Jews out of Jerusalem and they have no intention of sharing it.

Only Stupid Jews would advance the notion such a thing is even possible!

At 5:13 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

Not one US president called Jerusalem the undivided captial of Israel.

As a campaign promise Bush promised that in his first week of office he would sign the embassy act. Who got to him each time he axed it rather than sign it?

The significance of signing the embassy act was far greater then placing the US embassy in the capital of Israel. Therein lies the rub!

Each opportunity to sign the embassy act by our "best friend" sealed the fate of Jerusalem. Conservative voices of merit in the Republican party went silent as not to embarrass their president. The hierarchy of the Republican party is equally responsible. Politics always rules.

Once we understand, promises come cheap we will no longer rely on supposed friends every bit as much as we know we can't rely on our enemies. At that point we win. No one will help us but ourselves.

At 6:49 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yair makes an excellent point, the same one Carl made to me earlier. Obama has shown he breaks his word and has shown he is not to be trusted. In a word, Israel owes him exactly nothing. It was the US that instigated this fight and it is the US that owes Israel an apology not the other way around. Don't hold your breath waiting for Obama to make amends any time soon.


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