“Netanyahu has made clear that he is ready to undertake an historic move, but he wants to spread it over a long period of time, and to avoid mass evacuations of settlers during his rule,” an American source close to the peace negotiations told Walla. The source added that the prime minister has been making statements to this effect during his recent meetings with U.S. secretary of State John Kerry, and in his conversations last year with President Obama.
“He made clear to Obama as well as Kerry that he is ready to ‘go for it,’ but insisted that the execution, especially the aspect of settlement evacuations, must be gradual and lengthy – and not over 3 to 5 years, as the Palestinians demand,” the American source explained.
According to that source, “Netanyahu definitely understands that Israel must go for the agreement, but he doesn’t want to be the one who would in effect deport tens of thousands of settlers from the West bank. As far as he’s concerned, the best scenario would be a gradual agreement, with the final application taking place only on the watch of the next prime minister.”
Two weeks ago, U.S. ambassador to israel dan Shapiro said that during his most recent hops between Jerusalem and Ramallah, Kerry “heard from Netanyahu and Abu mazen (Abbas) things no one had heard from them in the past.”
Shapiro would not go into details, but the American source told Walla that “what Kerry heard from Netanyahu is a willingness on his part to agree on an historic compromise – while insisting on a gradual and lengthy application.”
The same source added that “this demand also holds true regarding settler deportations and the Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley.”
The source did not go into detail on how the Palestinians had reacted to Netanyahu’s new position, but noted that “there are gaps regarding the schedule.”
All of the above could explain Kerry’s near-euphoric behavior over the past few weeks, despite the string of reports on difficulties and wide gaps in the negotiations. In that context, Walla quotes an Israeli politician who had spoken to the Israeli negotiation staff, who said “the Americans feel that Netanyahu is near his point of ‘crossing the Rubicon,’ which is why they’re not upset about his right-wing sounding statements in the Knesset Likud faction meetings. They believe he must appease the right wing in his own party, but says the truly important things in his meetings with Kerry, especially when the two of them are alone.”
Meanwhile, the Kerry mission in Jerusalem has been hectically meeting with opposition parties on the left and in the Haredi camp, in preparation for a Jewish Home walkout following an “historic” statement from the prime minister.
Which is why Jewish Home must never leave the coalition government, regardless of the upcoming deal. They should hold on to their positions of power, vote against the catastrophic deal, and use their official capacity to defend and protect the settler community. Outside the government they may sound righteous and patriotic, but their worth to the people about to become refugees in their own land would be negligible.
Tough times are coming. Our communities must come together and figure out short and long term ways of evading deportation. Collect food, store water, purchase electric generators, stock up on fuel. Get as much of our resources off the grid as we can, because when they come for us – the grid will be the first thing they’ll turn off.