By Larry Gordon –
That is the problem in a nutshell. One of the things Israel needs to promise the always deceptive Palestinian Authority on the negotiations now taking place in an effort to restart the negotiations is the demand that Israel place a freeze on settlement building in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem. For her part, the best Israel is willing to do is to “restrain” or let’s try to translate that as slow down building as a gesture to the US and Arab unquenchable thirst for Israeli concessions.
As those who follow these events are well aware that is a new condition for the continuation of talks. From the outset back in July, Israel for some reason was offered a choice of “good will” gestures to offer the PA’s Mohammad Abbas in order to entice him to talk about peace with Israel and the US. It has become clear over the last few weeks that there is little basis for these talks and it is difficult to understand why they are continuing.
Additionally puzzling is why the Obama administration that was the catalyst of this latest round of negotiations cannot just simply do what they do best. That is declare the failed talks and the irreconcilable differences between the two entities a success and move of from there.
It is not like there is not a precedent for this type of move. For example, just the other day President Obama declared The Affordable Care Act a great success even though there is an abundance of evidence to the contrary. And very recently Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that talks with Iran on denying them a nuclear weapon were a success even though the Iranians proceed with little restrain in that direction. Kerry explained that by virtue of the talks slowing Iran down in their drive to nuclear capability—even by six months—means that the talks have been a success. That is although Iran may have the ability to someday soon launch nuclear weapons, the delay in their ability, for example, to destroy Israel, is a great success even if it ultimately fails. In other words, the operation was a success, but the patient died.
So Israel’s offer to “restrain settlement building”, as part of the new offer to the Arabs might be a chapter from this same book. Bear in mind that at the outset Israel was offered a choice—either release 104 Palestinian murderers of freeze settlements. Israel obviously chose the release of the killers regardless of the controversy surrounding the move. The thought process is rather elementary. Freezing settlements does not work and impinges on hundreds of thousands of families now residing in those areas. As far as releasing murderers, they can always be re-arrested or otherwise picked off at a later date if need be.
So now that the PA has demonstrated new obduracy Israel was cajoled into sweetening the pot. One of the new ingredients is to not freeze but restrain settlement building which can be done in any number of different ways. More in next week’s 5TJT.