Saturday night: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has convened his top mini-Cabinet of seven ministers for an emergency meeting in which they will vote on the United States demand that Israel re-freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria for another three months.
In exchange, the U.S. promises 20 jet fighters, as well as an automatic veto of any anti-Israel resolution or demand in the United Nations.
The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly demanded that Israel freeze all construction for the 320,000 Jews of Judea and Samaria, as well as for the 300,000 Jews of northern and eastern Jerusalem. In fact, a year ago, Israel froze all construction for ten months, in the hopes that the PA would agree to negotiate with Israel. The PA refused to do so for nine months, but in September, as the freeze was winding down, abruptly agreed to negotiate - but only on condition that Israel extend the freeze.
The Yesha Council - the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria - issued the following statement on Saturday night:
"This is a critical test hour for the government ministers: Will they build, or will they cave in?
"The demand to renew the freeze is a trap that Israel must not enter. There has been no Israeli position expressed more clearly and unambiguously, [namely] that the freeze was a one-time, temporary episode. If even this position crumbles, Israel will not be able to retain any other of its positions.
"During the period of the additional freeze, Israel will be taken into a political slaughterhouse in which it will be required to agree to borders that are very close to those of May 1967 [known as "Auschwitz borders" because of the narrow width between the Mediterranean and an Arab entity, but actually only armistice lines - ed.] and to give up all of its other assets."
It currently appears that Netanyahu, who visited the U.S. last week and met there with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, favors the new freeze. The other six ministers in the mini-cabinet are generally split down the middle on issues such as this one.
Readers who would like to make their opinion known to the Prime Minister can fax his office at 02-670-5361 (from abroad: +9722-670-5361).