web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



New Jewish Construction Freeze Feared

It appears that when the dust settles after Obama's upcoming visit, Israel's housing market is very likely to take a big hit - in the form of a construction freeze.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama in the White House, March 5, 2012.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama in the White House, March 5, 2012.
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90

Israel is abuzz with talk of President Obama’s upcoming visit – his first trip to the Jewish state as president. Speculation is rife that he would not put his prestige on the line in this manner unless he was confident his pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu would bear fruit.

What precisely will Obama be pressuring Netanyahu to do? For starters, he will want to see a resumption of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. One might ask why Netanyahu would have to be pressured to talk with the PA, when he has been calling for exactly that ever since he assumed office in 2009.

Here is where current events are actually shaped by their perception and bias. Though the P.A. is the party that refuses to come to the table, the popular understanding is that this is Israel’s fault. The P.A. repeatedly declares that talks cannot begin unless Israel freezes all construction throughout all of Judea and Samaria (Yesha) – and even the areas of Jerusalem liberated in the Six-Day War.

Chief P.A. negotiator Saeb Erekat even went so far as to say a construction freeze is not a “condition” for a resumption of negotiations, but rather “obligations that Israel is required to fulfill” even without talks.

Thus, those who are predisposed to the Arab narrative are quick to conclude that if Israel is not meeting the P.A.’s demands – it must be Israel’s fault.

Left unmentioned in the popular discourse is the “been there, done that” aspect: In late 2009, Israel declared a ten-month construction freeze, exactly for the purpose of jump-starting talks with the P.A. “We hope this decision will help launch meaningful peace negotiations,” Netanyahu declared at the time. American officials hailed the decision as “substantial” and “unprecedented.”

But it wasn’t enough for the P.A. For nine months it refused to come to the table, even as Israel suffered economically and Netanyahu suffered politically from the freeze. The ten-month moratorium was not acceptable, the PLO said; it must be “infinite.”

Only in the last month of the freeze did the P.A. deign to resume negotiations. Its nearly exclusive demand was that the freeze must continue indefinitely – or else the fledgling talks would end even before they started.

Israel did not fall for the trap, ended the freeze as scheduled, and negotiations have been stuck right there ever since.

Yet when Obama comes to Israel next month and demands that the talks begin once again, to whom will the demand be addressed? To Israel, of course: Stop building those schools and houses immediately, and let the P.A. come to the table. And yes, that includes Ramat Eshkol, Gilo and other Jerusalem suburbs, as well as the settlement blocs – Abbas won’t have it any other way.

Hints that this is the unfolding scenario are evident from many quarters. The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Israeli government is considering a new settlement freeze, and prominent public figures have been quoted of late supporting exactly that, at least partially. Among them is outgoing Cabinet minister Dan Meridor (Likud), who said that Israel should restrict building beyond the Green Line to Jerusalem and major settlement blocs.

Similarly, National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror, more on the hawkish end of Israel’s political spectrum, warned that continued Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria would lead to a deterioration in Israel’s international standing.

From Netanyahu’s office – not from Netanyahu himself – have come statements that a new settlement freeze is not on the table. During the election campaign, Netanyahu said as much many times, and even the #2 party in the soon-expected government coalition, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, said it objects to a building freeze during negotiations.

Nonetheless, Yesha leaders are far from relaxed, and with good reason. They know the very fact that a freeze is again being discussed so widely does not bode well.

Incidentally, the PLO Executive Committee has also announced that resumed talks are conditional on not only a “complete halt to settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem,” but also the release of all terrorist prisoners. And there’s more: Israel must also accept the recent U.N. resolution recognizing the P.A. as a non-member observer state.

The P.A. sees Obama’s visit as a great opportunity, “although we need deeds and real U.S. pressure on Israel rather than meetings,” said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh. “We wish the U.S. administration will exert pressure on Israel to stop settlement expansion, in order to lay the ground for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territory within the borders before June 4, 1967.”

About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

One Response to “New Jewish Construction Freeze Feared”

  1. Pare Jonathan says:

    Love reading your News..Shalom.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org
Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

The Kotel in Jerusalem, Israel on Dec. 14, 2013.

Jerusalem: The historic and spiritual capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

It is critical to note the solid legal basis for the position that no part of Jerusalem is actually “occupied.”

Jerusalem: extraordinary financial and building growth and satisfaction by both Jewish and Arab residents.

Arab attacks on Jews must be stopped and Jewish construction in Jerusalem must proceed without hindrance.

The Arab world is simply not built to accept the existence of Israel in its midst.

Under the plan, a person who was not a citizen of either the Jewish or Arab state was to be appointed governor to administer Jerusalem and to conduct external affairs…

Is it not ironic that the renewal of a decades-old Jewish town is considered an “illegal settlement” on “occupied territory”?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/new-jewish-construction-freeze-feared/2013/02/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: