How much is a three-month settlement freeze really worth?

The offer of a free squadron of F-35 joint strike fighters is “an offer hard to refuse” a senior Israeli defense official tells the Jerusalem Post, but Aluf Benn suggests the Obama administration wants more than a brief extension of the settlement freeze in return. The goal is a coalition shake-up.

To date, Netanyahu was able to obtain cabinet approval for all U.S. dictates The right wing ministers in his coalition were not enthusiastic and did not go out of their way to sell the decisions to the public, but neither did they oppose the prime minister publicly. Now the situation is different. Shas announced that it will abstain and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that “we will not agree to even a single day of freeze.” If Lieberman votes in favor or abstains, and it does not matter what his excuse will be, he will be called a pushover. So it appears that for the first time, Netanyahu will face a divided vote on an important political issue.

But this is precisely what the Americans want: They want Netanyahu to change the composition of his coalition, bring in Kadima in place of the right wing factions and replace Lieberman with Tzipi Livni. That way the world will see that he’s serious about negotiations with the Palestinians. Netanyahu has opted to date to maintain his alliance with the right, fearing that Lieberman would steal voters away from him and that Livni would try to undermine him and push him out of office. But as the 91st day approaches, it may be that he has no choice.

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4 thoughts on “How much is a three-month settlement freeze really worth?

  1. BillVZ

    Golly, how clever. According to the explanation above the presentation of an offer that can’t be refused is just a bit of behind the scene political intrigue mind ‘game’s to get into the head of Netanyahu.Meanwhile I suspect the Palestinians and embarrassed American public are shaking their head in overwhelming disbelief with the rest of the world.
    The knowledge and understanding of the intent of the Clinton generous offer, as well as the continued commitment of the White House to fighting dilegitimization of Israel will surely smooth things over and get peace and settlement ‘talks’ back on tract. No..?

  2. James Whitney

    Perhaps Aluf Benn is right that Obama and Clinton want Netanyahu to reconstitute his government so as to appear less thuggish, and is dangling the bribe of a squadron of F35 fighters (famous for enormous cost overruns like lots of military equipment).

    But a three month construction freeze at best is over after three months, and if the past history of freezes is repeated, will be far from a real freeze. You know how it is: certain projects had been approved before the freeze so are exempt, especially if they are in or close to Jerusalem. I believe that construction will never stop (it has been non-stop at least since early in the 20th century), because it is the view of the Israeli government that a Jewish state is viable only if there is an overwhelming majority of Jews living in the state. Thus Palestinians are a threat and are always encouraged (a euphemism) to get out.

    Peace talks as they are now done cannot advance real peace. To have real peace, the talks must be with a real enemy. The real enemy is Palestinans who (or whose parents or grandparents) once lived in the former British mandate and want the same right of return that Jewish people have. In my view, most of the talk about Hamas or Hizbollah or Iran being a threat has a dual purpose: keep the Jewish population in a state of fear, and divert the attention of the rest of the world from the expansionist actions of the Israeli government.

    Some authors worth reading for background: Shomo Sand, Gilbert Achcar, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappe, and even Benny Morris who has more recently has become an advocate of “transfer”.

  3. Ian Arbuckle

    The Zionist cancer has taken control of the veins and nerves America. It is the USA that has lost all “legitimacy”. Their support of Zionist Israel, that terrorist regime exerting crippling oppression, occupation and siege of Palestinian lands and people, is just another outgrowth of the American cancer.

    Yesterday it was Philippines, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Salvadore, Panama, (just to name a few) today it is Iraq, Afghanistan Yemen, Somalia, next it will be Iran. Wherever you look, even Okinawa or Kashmir, the cancerous hubris continues to spread its poison.

    The words “regime change” come to mind. Law and democracy have been corrupted to their core and rendered impotent with money, intrigue and propaganda. Global wealth has been drained to feed the tyrant. Bondage and war is the inevitable spawn of usury and capitalism. One can only hope that the present economic collapse and its consequent penury which was inevitable, will also emaciate to destrtuction the underpinning of the military industrial complex sooner rather than later. Must we wait till they use the “last bullet” made at our cost but that they saved for themselves?

  4. Dieter Heymann, Houston, USA

    The Obama-Clinton tandem has always wanted to be audacious but has never achieved it until now. This three billion giveaway is in essence a tax-funded stimulus package for the companies that produced this plane and these companies are not going to donate another squadron of F-35 fighters for free. The audacity!
    Of course the Tea Parties and the anti-stimulus politicians in congress are silent and will continue to be silent on this extracurricular activity which, I believe, is illegal without the so-called consent of the governed. This is another reason for dumping Obama et al. in 2012. A beginning has already been made in 2010.

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