Bibi’s way of making peace, with crucial US support

Netanyahu style of freezing settlements:

The security cabinet voted yesterday to impose a partial 10-month freeze on construction in West Bank settlements, which will not apply to East Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday. He said the partial freeze was a bid to restart stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.

The construction of 3,000 new housing units in the settlements will continue unabated, as will construction of public facilities like synagogues and schools.

That is: he will continue building thousands of new houses for settlers, and will continue to start building new houses in East Jerusalem. He simply promises he won’t start building new houses in the West Bank for 10 months: which he won’t need to, because of the 3000 (at least). “The ball is now in the Palestinian court” says Netanyahu. Okay. The US shows it fully supports the settlement program:

George Mitchell, the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, said the limited freeze was “significant.”

“While they fall short of a full freeze, we believe the steps announced by the prime minister are significant and could have substantial impact on the ground,” he said. “For the first time ever an Israeli government will stop housing approvals and all new construction of housing units and related infrastructure in West Bank settlements. That’s a positive development.”

Okay? So this is supposedly a concession. Netanyahu takes an ultra extreme position, and wins US legitimisation for everything short of it. The settlements themselves are all criminal, but Obama has committed to only verbally opposing, whilst diplomatically and financially supporting, their continued expansion.

Also, Gideon Levy asks an obvious question: why can Israel negotiate with Hamas over a truce and Shalit, but not over a two state solution? The answer is obvious. If it was because Israel were afraid of these terrorist anti-Semites being evil, there would be no point to negotiating a truce or over a prisoner exchange. The reason they don’t is because they don’t want to end the occupation.


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