Powered by WebAds

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Israel Radio: Netanyahu doesn't have a majority in the cabinet to extend the freeze

Aaron Lerner translates a Friday morning report by Israel Radio diplomatic correspondent Shmuel Tal that reports that - surprise - Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn't have a majority in the cabinet to extend the 'settlement freeze' even if he wants to.
A senior source in Jerusalem assesses that even if Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to extend the building freeze in the settlements, he would not have a majority in the cabinet to approve it [AL: a deal that does not include the release of Jonathan Pollard].

Our Diplomatic Affairs correspondent Shmuel Tal reports that Israel rejected the American proposal to provide security and diplomatic guarantees in exchange for the extension of the freeze for two months. The proposal was discussed in the meetings of Minister of Defense Barak and of the prime minister's representative Attorney Yitzhak Molho with officials in the administration in Washington and the two announced that Israel could not accept it.

Israel offered that the new construction be only in the large settlement blocs, under government supervision and with a low profile. U.S. Envoy Mitchell is to meet this morning with Netanyahu to give him the Palestinians reply to the Israeli proposal. In Jerusalem it is expected that Abu Mazen [AL: Mahmoud Abbas] will reject the offer.
In fact, the 'Palestinians' have rejected the offer and they continue to make statements to the media this evening that unless there is a total freeze, they will walk out of the negotiations.

I wonder who convinced Obama that getting negotiations going again between Israel and the 'Palestinians' was the way to save the 2010 midterm elections. Rahm Emanuel (who resigned as chief of staff on Friday to run for Mayor of Chicago)? All this exercise has done is to prove how stupid it was for the US to demand a 'full settlement freeze' in the first place. More on that from a more Leftist commentator here.

Paul Mirengoff reports on some additional 'goodies' that President Obama offered in return for a two-month extension.
It has since been reported that Washington offered Israel additional incentives to extend the moratorium. They include support for Israel's demand that any Israeli-Palestinian deal include a long-term Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley; additional military aid and advanced weaponry; and stringent measures to halt arms smuggling.

These are genuine goodies and, in the abstract, seemingly are worth a two month extension. But as Evelyn Gordon points out, Obama's past actions show that he "views presidential promises to Israel as made to be broken." When Israel left Gaza, it received an oral promise from President Bush that the U.S. would not oppose continued building in the settlement blocs. But when Obama took office, he denied the oral pledge's existence. He has also failed to take seriously some of the written promises Bush made, such as demanding an end to PA incitement.

As to the latest "assurances," Israel might well believe that, because peace talks are destined to go nowhere, Obama's promises about what a peace deal must include are meaningless. And Israel is well advised to believe that, when the talks fail to progress, Obama will feel no compunction about reneging on his promises with respect to advanced weapons sales, measures to halt arms smuggling, etc.
Actually, there was a letter from President Bush to Prime Minister Sharon that related to the 'settlement blocs.' But other than that, Paul's got it right.

/Gotta replace that picture with a pail of water


At 3:34 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Barry Rubin observed the real reason for the sudden US goodwill towards Israel has nothing to do with American strategic interests or even peace. It has to do with Obama's domestic political needs until November. Israel is being asked to make a major concession for American promises not worth the paper they'd be written on and which could be forgotten or reversed down the road and this is in light of the Palestinians' refusal to even compromise.

Israel was right in turning the US down. And Rubin points out the other alternative Washington has is to pressure the PA to moderate and compromise but it will never do that. So as it stands, the direct talks are at a dead end and its only a question of time as to when the Palestinians will walk out. Why Israel is leaving it up to them to make the first move is one of those Middle East mysteries no one can quite divine.

We're not going to have peace this year, next year, this decade or in our lifetime. But a lot of very smart people have begun to believe their own lies. And this is not good for Israel, its security, its relations with the US, for peace and its time to tell the truth.


Post a Comment

<< Home