Friday, April 23, 2010

US to resume talks with Israel despite Netanyahu's refusal to halt settlements.

George Mitchell has flown to Israel to resume talks with Netanyahu, despite Netanyahu's public refusal to stop building settlements in East Jerusalem.

Today Netanyahu told Israel's Channel 2: "I am saying one thing. There will be no freeze in Jerusalem. There should be no preconditions to talks."
But there is speculation that, behind the scenes, a deal is being done.
Although Netanyahu ruled out a halt on settlement-building, he was reported to have offered other proposals as concessions to the Palestinians. There was media speculation in Israel that Netanyahu may have publicly ruled out a freeze but will privately impose one.
It's interesting that even Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper are thinking that Netanyahu's stance is hollow:
The prime minister's response Thursday on Channel 2 that "there will be no freeze [in construction] in Jerusalem," is like Bill Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman."

Benjamin Netanyahu did not insist this time that he will continue construction in Ramat Shlomo, Gilo and Har Homa - something he is leaving for Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to do.

Based on the speeches the two gave on Independence Day, Jerusalem Day came early this year.

The two were aware that the moment they were swearing that "united Jerusalem" would never be divided, Barack Obama's envoys were packing their bags for a visit to the region.

The Israelis knew that special envoy George Mitchell was not being sent to the eternal capital just to hear Netanyahu insist on developing the real estate business in East Jerusalem.
A deal has been done behind the scenes. But Netanyahu has done himself no favours by continuing to oppose international law publicly.

That's why Israel's usual supporters, the people who normally pop up at the drop of a hat to fight Israel's corner, are being so quiet.

Obama, by choosing to make illegal settlements the battle ground, has placed Netanayhu in a dreadful spot.

Only zealots will argue that international law should be ignored, and Obama comes across as a pragmatist for allowing Netanyahu to claim that he will continue to build in Jerusalem, even though we all suspect that he won't.

Netanyahu is playing to his extreme right wing coalition, and Obama is allowing him to do so.
The signs were thick Thursday that behind the proclamations of a "unified Jerusalem," a quiet accord was in the works with the Americans. As long as the Jews are not building in Sheikh Jarrah and Ramat Shlomo, Obama and his aides don't care what the Jews say about a construction freeze in Arab parts of the city. In Washington they realized that if Netanyahu wants to preserve his coalition, he can't allow any doubts about the "integrity of Jerusalem."

As far as the Americans are concerned, let Netanyahu run around telling everyone that Jerusalem is no different than Tel Aviv. The key thing is that the Palestinians don't read in the paper that the interior minister approved new construction in the Holy City.
I can see why Obama would allow this, but the truth is that peace will never be achieved with this particular bunch of right wing Israeli loons.

They don't want it. Indeed, they are dead set against it. The sooner they fall the better.

Peace won't come as long as this bunch are in charge of Israel.


A senior Democrat has come out against Obama's stance regarding Netanyahu's obstructionism.

Schumer, a hawkish ally of Israel since his days as a Brooklyn Congressman, described "a battle going on inside the administration" over Middle East policy.

"This has to stop," he said of the administration's policy of publicly pressuring Israel to end construction in Jerusalem.

"I told the President, I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk," Schumer told Segal. "Palestinians don’t really believe in a state of Israel. They, unlike a majority of Israelis, who have come to the conclusion that they can live with a two-state solution to be determined by the parties, the majority of Palestinians are still very reluctant, and they need to be pushed to get there.

"If the U.S. says certain things and takes certain stands the Palestinians say, 'Why should we negotiate?'" Schumer said.

The notion that the Israelis want to negotiate and that it is the Palestinians who are being obstructionist is so far from reality as to be laughable. And, behind all of this rhetoric, Schumer is basically saying that Obama needs to respect Netanyahu's right wing coalition and take on board the fact that they don't want to do any deal with the Palestinians.
"You have to show Israel that it’s not going to be forced to do things it doesn’t want to do and can’t do."
In other words, respect the fact that Netanyahu is in bed with a bunch of right wing loons. Schumer sounds as unhinged as the coalition he is speaking out to defend.


The Huffington Post:

Note to Senator Schumer: you have certainly unloaded a lot of blame on the White House today. I have done a quick lexis and Thomas search and have been unable to find a single instance in which you criticized the behavior of the Israeli government at any time on any issue.

If we are wrong, we would very much like to be corrected. Please let us know.

(Tumble-weed blows by.......)

Click here for full article.

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