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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Deja vu all over again: Netanyahu preparing 'concessions package' for Obama

He doesn't yet have a coalition in place, but already Prime Minister Netanyahu is starting to consider unilateral concessions to the 'Palestinians,' commonly known as 'gestures,' in a bid to induce them to 'return' to the 'peace talks.'
According to a report in Maariv on Tuesday, the gestures will include the transfer of authority over two access roads — one to the new Palestinian city Rawabi, and the other to the West Bank city of Tulkarem — to full Palestinian control, the approval of building plans for 10 Palestinian villages currently deemed illegal and under threat of being demolished, the release of many of the 123 Fatah prisoners arrested by Israel before the Oslo peace talks, and the transfer of small arms ammunition to the Palestinian security forces.
The report states that the gestures were discussed in the past in talks with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, but Netanyahu rejected them. The defense establishment reportedly drew up the plans while explaining to Netanyahu that the moves would not be a major political liability for the prime minister, but could create a positive global public relations effect. 


On Sunday, the World Tribune reported that Obama expects to see a timetable for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. The report, citing Israeli sources, indicated that the president had made clear to Netanyahu that his March 20 visit to Israel, his first since becoming president, “is not about photo-ops, but the business of Iran and a Palestinian state.”
The Times of Israel could not independently confirm the report, which contradicted official American comments ahead of the trip, which has been described as a solidarity and consultative mission.
“The implication is that if Israel won’t give him something he can work with, then he’ll act on his own,” the website quoted one source as saying. According to the report, an Israeli pullout plan could form part of an imminent US push to form a Palestinian state in the West Bank in 2014.
Someone had better remind Naftali Bennett that if Netanyahu does something like this when Jewish Home is in the government, he's partly responsible. And most of his voters won't like it. 

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