How much is a two-month extension in the West Bank settlement slowdown really worth?
The Obama administration is pursuing this paltry prize as if it was staving off another economic meltdown — even as hundreds of building projects have already been started.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
The U.S. has been wooing Netanyahu for weeks with offers including a squadron of F-35 fighters, support for a long-term Israeli troop presence in a new Palestinian state, and a pledge to veto any anti-Israel resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. also is offering access to its satellites that could provide early warning of attacks.
To the Palestinians, the White House is pledging support for their position on the exact location of borders for a future state in exchange for a promise to continue negotiating even if Israel refuses to extend the construction moratorium.
Although the Obama administration was expected to eventually give out incentives to keep the negotiations alive, diplomats and other observers say they are surprised that it has offered so much, so early for such a small victory: a commitment by both sides to keep talking.
“From the left to the right, people are saying that the administration is looking desperate,” said Robert Danin, a former U.S. official and an advisor to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, an envoy to the region for the United Nations, U.S., European Union and Russia.
On Thursday by Ehud Shani, director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, signed a contract for 20 F-35 fighter jets.
Making a hint that they will be used to bomb Iran, he described them as being “one of the answers” for dealing with the “problem” of Tehran.
Israel will get the jets at a discount, pay for them with US tax dollars (through recession-proof military aid), while also likely profiting from F-35 production — it has expressed an interest in manufacturing 25% of the wings of the more than 3,000 aircraft Lockheed expects to build.
The jets won’t be delivered until about 2016, but by that point Israel’s war-mongers no doubt feel optimistic that there will be a war-friendly Republican administration in place — though whether GOP control of the White House is necessary to serve Israel’s needs, is highly debatable.