U.S. reportedly is incensed over Israeli PM’s rejection of a draft letter that would have extended moratorium on West Bank settlement construction in exchange for U.S. guarantees. (I think we have a little ‘StuxNet’ worm to thank for that )
Haaretz The United States is reportedly incensed over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of a draft letter that would have extended the freeze on West Bank settlement construction, formulated by advisers to the U.S. and Israeli leaders.
The letter, written by U.S. President Barack Obama’s advisers and by Netanyahu’s and Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s adviser Isaac Molho, would have had Israel freezing construction in the settlements for another 60 days in exchange for unprecedented U.S. political and security assistance.
Senior American officials said they were frustrated by Netanyahu’s conduct in the affair. “We’re not buying the excuse of political difficulties anymore,” a senior U.S. official told his Israeli counterpart.
“The Americans said Netanyahu’s conduct is humiliating the president,” said a senior European diplomat who met with senior U.S. officials in New York last week. The details of the letter were revealed by senior researcher David Makovsky on the website of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
According to the report, the letter included benefits crucial to Israel’s security that Netanyahu has been demanding
for years. For example, the United States pledged to support Israel’s position on stationing Israeli troops in the Jordan valley after the establishment of a Palestinian state, in order to prevent weapons smuggling.
The United States also would not ask Israel to further extend the building moratorium and would pledge that the issue of settlements would be dealt with only as part of final-status talks with the Palestinians, the letter reportedly said.
The United States also reportedly would veto any UN Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year, would upgrade Israel’s defense capabilities after the peace agreement, and would increase security assistance.
This reportedly would include providing Israel with advanced fighter jets and early warning systems, including satellites. The U.S. also would start talks with Arab countries toward a regional agreement vis-a-vis Iran. (Too late, guys, where were all these nice offers before? Israel decided to deal with the Iranian problem without your help)
On Sunday, Netanyahu said he appreciated the letter but could not accept the American proposal because it included a two-month extension of the construction moratorium, which he said would damage his public credibility.
According to an Israeli source involved in the details of the affair, Obama advisor Dennis Ross was very insulted by Netanyahu’s conduct and considered it “treason.” (TREASON? Since when did Netanyahu become an American citizen?)
Turns out this “sweetheart” offer from Obama would be devastating for Israel.
OBAMA DOUBLE CROSS Until now, official American policy, as expressed both by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, is that a Palestinian state could only be achieved via direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Rather than bolster this commitment, the Obama letter, if put into effect, would constitute a very significant deterioration in the American position.
Simply put, under the Obama proposal, Israel would be “rewarded” for extending the freeze by 60 days by having an American gun put to the Jewish State’s forehead with the warning: “make a deal with the Palestinians within a year or the Palestinians will unilaterally be rewarded with a sovereign Palestinians state.”
The introduction of this American threat would irreparably doom the prospects of Israel actually reaching an agreement with the Palestinians during the course of the negotiations since the Palestinians would know that they bring to the UNSC whatever Israeli concession were put on the table during the course of the year when they go to the USNC for an imposed solution.
Obama also threatens that if his offer is not accepted that the U.S. will make what he terms a major gesture to the Palestinians damaging Israel: formally taking the stand that the final borders should be based on the ’67 lines with adjustments. H/T MFS