web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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.

Obama needs Netanyahu more than he admits in public.
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 reside 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.

Current Top Story
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat being carried in a rally last winter.
PLO Blows Up Netanyahu’s ‘Peace Process’ Renewal
Latest Indepth Stories
Abbas and Obama

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel to on peace process

Ronal Shoval Voting

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Ayelet Shaked

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Tel Aviv University Insignia

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

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

48 years ago this week the IDF with heroism & Divine providence liberated our holy capital Jerusalem

Keeping-Jerusalem

“We returned to this Land not in order to be murdered, or uprooted. We came here to be replanted!”

Negotiations with the PA raises fears that some of Jerusalem will be handed over to foreign control

All Zionist parties must demonstrate that a united Jewish Yerushalayim is an absolute imperative

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Despite its name, the Muslim Quarter was home to many Jews and 6 yeshivot in the 19th century

A unified Jerusalem’s most threatened by a leading Prime Minister candidate: Labor’s Yitzchak Herzog

As Israel slowly loses its grip on parts of its capital, the Arabs are working to fill the vacuum.

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: