Bibi Netanyahu Agrees to Push His Cabinet for a Partial Moratorium on Some Settlement Construction for 90 Days
I certainly appreciate Secretary Clinton’s hard work. I just wish Israel would stop making this administration crawl over cut glass to do very basic things to ensure it’s own long term security.
From the NYT:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has agreed to push his cabinet to freeze most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, an official briefed on talks between the United States and Israel said Saturday evening.
In return, the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth $3 billion that would be contingent on the signing of a peace agreement, the official said. The United States would also block any moves in the United Nations Security Council that would try to shape a final peace agreement.
The quid pro quo was hashed out by Mr. Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in seven and a half hours of talks in New York on Thursday.
The partial freeze would not include East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians view as the future capital of a Palestinian state and where recent Israeli building set off a firestorm of criticism.
It was unclear whether the prime minister could win approval for the United States deal from his cabinet, which has been reluctant to freeze settlement construction. It was also unclear if the leaks of the details of the agreement, which were widely reported in Israeli newspapers on Saturday, were designed to put pressure on Mr. Netanyahu.
This proposed 90-day freeze would be nonrenewable: the United States would not ask for further extensions, the official with knowledge of the deliberations said.
The freeze would apply not only to new construction, but to building that began after the 10-month moratorium expired in September, the official said. That is a particularly delicate stipulation, given the large number of houses that have begun being built since then. The ban would apply to residential building; public structures like schools and community centers would be unaffected. [emphasis added]
That is quite a high cost for a partial freeze in some settlements not including East Jerusalem- the real sticking point with the Palestinians since they want that as their capital. I also don’t think it includes construction for “natural growth” but I could be wrong. Keep in mind that this is on top of the billions we are already giving Israel. The US taxpayer will be paying a little over $33 million a day to get Netanyahu to partially do what he should be doing under international law anyway. Of course, this isn’t a done deal yet because it hasn’t been approved by Israel’s Cabinet. I do hope that all of this is contingent upon the signing of a peace deal, as the NYT article indicates above.
I know I sound negative but I am just sort of fed up with Israel’s attitude at this stage. Secretary Clinton has said many times that the US can’t want peace more than the parties do and with Netanyahu, that seems to be the case. I am tired of hearing about how his hands are tied because he has to appease his far-right wing coalition- he CHOSE that coalition specifically because they were far-right wing hardliners on Mideast peace and other issues. I’m also unclear how Israel can continue to plan 50,000 new housing units in Jerusalem (many in Arab areas) and expect to come up with some sort of peace agreement. There is a point where actions are more important than words and Israel’s actions do not = peace.