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Monday, October 04, 2010

Asharq al-Awsat: Bibi agreed to extension; Bibi denies it

A report in the London-based pan-Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat claims that Prime Minister Netanyahu has already agreed to a 60-day extension of the 'settlement freeze.' Prime Minister Netanyahu denies the report.
According to Israeli sources quoted in the report, Netanyahu expressed his preliminary approval to extend Israel's moratorium on settlement building, adding that he conditioned such a move on a list of U.S. assurances, which included a continued IDF presence in the Jordan valley and continued U.S. political and military support.

Sources quoted in the Asharq al-Awsat piece also said Netanyahu claimed that the assurances listed would aid him in the face of the widespread internal opposition expected to such a move.

Speaking at a meeting of Likud ministers which took place shortly before the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Monday, Netanyahu made a possible reference to the Asharq al-Awsat report, saying that there were "a lot of reports on the subject, most of which are wrong and we can't deny or correct everything.

"There's no need to start a debate on the subject," the PM said, adding, however that Israel was in the "midst of sensitive talks with the U.S. administration to find a solution that would allow talks to continue."

"There's no need to cause a stir, but there is a need to conduct ourselves in a wise and responsible manner in order to advance the diplomatic process," the PM said, adding that he believed he had to "weigh the situation quietly and far from the spotlight, and act quietly."

Netanyahu added that "efforts, mainly discrete ones, are made and we are expected to conduct ourselves in a restrained, discrete manner. If a decision will be made it would be brought before appropriate governmental bodies."

Israel was "interested in achieving peace," Netanyahu adding that it was a "vital interest of the State of Israel."
The report goes on to refer to the previously reported list of concessions that the United States made to Israel - as first reported by David Makovsky last week. The United States has denied that report.

YNet adds that according to the Asharq report Prime Minister Netanyahu has asked for "an assurance that the construction work that has been started will be completed," which presumably means construction that was started over the course of the last week since the freeze ended.

Even more interestingly, Arutz Sheva reports that "the U.S. has promised an array of weapons for attacking Iran, including bunker busting smart bombs." We've heard that story before. On the other hand, some reports have indicated that the US has refused to sell bunker busters to Israel. Color me skeptical regarding any reports of the US supplying Israel with bunker busters under the Obama administration.


At 7:22 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

There's no mention of any release of Pollard... I don't believe such a deal will gain the support of the Cabinet. If it comes to a vote, the Likud right, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, and the Jewish Home will vote against it and the Likud centrists and Labor will vote for it. So right now Netanyahu would have to convince a couple of the opponents to switch their votes and as things stand right now, that appears to be a tall order.

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully Israel will be able to build there own bunker buster bombs using the ones Bush sold to Israel. Also if you look at the timing of the sale to Israel, one can also hope that Israel completed the transformation of the bunker buster that congress denied to the Bush administration. [In case you are not aware of what I am talking about, congress refused to let Bush continue with the transformation of the bunker buster into a nuclear weapon.]


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