The Obama administration’s next step in satisfying the Palestinian Authority is to demand that Israel clamp a building freeze on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that it assumes eventually will be destroyed and whose families will be expelled, Army Radio reported Wednesday.
The radio network quoted unnamed American negotiators as saying that a partial building freeze will be necessary to coax PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas into continuing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace talk strategy, which has been a thin camouflage for forcing Israel to accept most of Abbas’ conditions for the creation of the Palestinian Authority as a country.
So far, Kerry has not demanded or suggested that Abbas make any moves to stop incitement, control terror, recognize Israel as a Jewish state, accept the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria, or forfeit all demands that Israel accept foreign Arabs immigrants.
The report came hours before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Abbas in Paris.
The office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not responded to the report, and if reporters ask the U.S. State Dept. about it at today’s daily press session, they will undoubtedly receive the same answer to every other rumor – “no comment” but stated in approximately 200 words of a song and dance.
Netanyahu cannot be expected to reject anything, given his lengthy record of capitulating on almost every issue in years of off-and-on discussions with the Palestinian Authority and Obama administration officials.
The only red line that Netanyahu has held is the demand that Abbas call Israel a Jewish state, a questionable condition that makes Israel appear anywhere from proud to silly, depending on one’s view.
The stakes get higher each time a concession is made. Agreeing to freeze construction for Jews in outlying Jewish communities would be a de facto surrender of all Jews living there. On paper, the Prime Minister could argue that if Kerry’s efforts fail, Israel would renew construction.
But history shows that every concession by Israel becomes another fact on the ground that allows negotiations to drag on until another concession is demanded,
If Netanyahu were to agree, the coalition government could crumble, leaving Netanyahu with the option of calling elections or risking a break-up of the Likud-Beiteinu party and chancing the success of forming a new government with Labor and the Haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties.
If the report in Army radio is a trial balloon and Netanyahu doesn’t buy it, it is going to burst. Once these kinds of ideas are floated, they become a firm condition for Abbas, who so far has been able to depend on Kerry to most of his negotiating with Israel.
The entire “peace talk” marathon is getting messier and messier for Israel. It agreed to start the “nine-month” process last July by freeing 104 terrorists, in four batches.
Ever since that first show of weakness, Netanyahu’s positions have fallen like dominoes because he is negotiating from weakness and with one hand tied behind his back.
Kerry knows it and is squeezing him for political blood.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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