Israel ‘Fed Up’ with US

“Settlements, settlements, settlements” has been the Obama mantra since he took office. The Netanyahu gov't is “fed up,” a senior official said.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

Bulilding continues despite US call for halt
Bulilding continues despite US call for halt
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A senior Israeli government official said that Israel is “fed up” with American statements against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the Hebrew-language Yisrael HaYom (Israel Today) newspaper reported Monday.

As Defense Minister Ehud Barak flies to Washington for meetings with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, the unnamed senior official stated, “Israel will demand that any compromise be part of a wider program of regional peace, and only after agreement on the basic principles outlines by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his [recent] speech at Bar-Ilan University.”

The Prime Minister declared for the first time that he would accept the creation of a new Arab state on part of the land of Judea and Samaria on condition that it be de-militarized and that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has categorically rejected both conditions after having been encouraged by American and European support for the Arab-world demands that Israel surrender all of the land restored to the Jewish state in the Six-Day War in 1967, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Government sources told Yisrael HaYom that during Defense Minister Barak’s visit, “The Americans will hear decisive statements regarding the possibility of freezing construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria. Israel will be prepared to listen to a freeze only if it is temporary and if the Americans will explicitly state” that it will later approve building in communities with a high concentration of Jewish residents.

Israel has stated for public consumption that good relations with the U.S. are important, but any freeze, even temporary, is likely to meet stiff opposition from Shas and Likud party ministers. Shas leader Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) said, "This kind of thinking is incorrect. The discussion needs to be not only about ‘settlements’ but also about obligations of the PA.”

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) is thoroughly opposed to any restrictions on building for Jews but is willing to vacate certain hilltop communities, also called “outposts.”

Pinchas Wallerstein, a long-time leader in Yesha, wrote in a local newspaper in Samaria this week that if an outpost was built on Arab land that cannot be purchased by Jews, the Yesha Council would agreed to transfer it to another location on condition that the current building freeze is removed.

He charged that the new American government is trying to take "Barak Hussein Obama's pound of flesh for the Arab world towards which he now sets his sights.”  President Obama stated in his Cairo University speech earlier this month that “the U.S. does not view the settlements as legitimate." he has issued repeated calls for a halt to building for Jews,

Even the Washington Post, which usually sides against Israeli policies in Yesha, is concerned with the Obama administration having painted itself a corner in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Jackson Diehl, the newspaper’s deputy editorial page editor, wrote Monday morning: “The administration made the mistake of insisting that an Israeli settlement ‘freeze’ - a term the past three administrations agreed to define loosely - must mean a total stop to all construction in the West Bank and even East Jerusalem.

“This absolutist position is a loser for three reasons. First, it has allowed Palestinian and Arab leaders to withhold the steps they were asked for; they claim to be waiting for the settlement "freeze" even as they quietly savor a rare public battle between Israel and the United States. Second, the administration's objective -- whatever its merits -- is unobtainable. No Israeli government has ever agreed to an unconditional freeze, and no coalition could be assembled from the current parliament to impose one.

"Finally, the extraction of a freeze from Netanyahu is, as a practical matter, unnecessary. While further settlement expansion needs to be curbed, both the Palestinian Authority and Arab governments have gone along with previous U.S.-Israeli deals by which construction was to be limited to inside the periphery of settlements near Israel -- since everyone knows those areas will be annexed to Israel in a final settlement.”