web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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.

One Response to “New Jewish Construction Freeze Feared”

  1. Pare Jonathan says:

    Love reading your News..Shalom.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Candy-laden bulletin board greets children on their first day of school in the lobby of an Efrat apartment building. Sept. 1, 2014.
The message reads:
"To our dear children ... may it be a year of fun and happiness in your studies." 
Did You Know September 1 is an Israeli National Holiday?
Latest Indepth Stories
0.5-Shekel-hatasham-RJP

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

The_United_Nations_Building

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

champions

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

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

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

Keeping-Jerusalem

Arab mother: “Life is zero, life is worthless. That is why we have all the suicide bombers;”

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

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.

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: