“When informed about the Israeli decision, Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn’t even bother getting angry,” Goldberg writes. “He told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu’s part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart.”
…It now is clear that the article from Warrick was meant to prepare the ground for the unveiling, one week later, of David Albright’s new working group developed precisely for the purpose of furthering the neocon position on Iran sanctions. By taking on additional policy members in this working group, Albright is now branching out from his usual area of commentary on technical issues (where Moon of Alabama has dubbed his Institute for Science and International Security the “Institute for Scary Iran Stories“) all the way into policy and now promotes the full neocon position that Iran is dangerously close to having a nuclear weapon and therefore sanctions must be ratcheted up further.
Israel pushes EU to upgrade ties in light of renewed peace talks
…The Foreign Ministry has asked senior European Union officials to renew the process of upgrading Israel’s relations with the organization, in view of the renewal earlier this month of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In April 2009, the EU suspended the upgrade process after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a reassessment of the peace process and Israeli-PA talks were subsequently suspended. [...]
A highly placed source in the ministry said that last week directives were sent to Israel’s EU representation in Brussels and to Israeli embassies in EU member states with instructions on taking diplomatic measures on the matter. The directive, titled "Leveraging the start of talks in Washington into renewing the European agenda," instructed Israeli ambassadors to appeal to the highest levels of government in the countries where they serve and in the EU with the message that the renewal of peace talks has created conditions appropriate to "thawing out" the upgrade of Israel’s relations with the organization. Recent upgrades by several EU member states in their diplomatic relations with the PA should be mentioned as another reason for restarting Israel’s upgrade, the Israeli diplomats were told.
Israel official: Netanyahu to offer Palestinians partial settlement freeze
…At the Likud cabinet ministers’ meeting, Silvan Shalom and Limor Livnat asked Netanyahu for clarifications about the future of the settlement freeze. The prime minister hinted that he was prepared to adopt a formula involving a partial freeze after the expiry on September 30.
"At the end of the month, the freeze order is due to expire and we have to think about what is the wise thing to do," Netanyahu said, adding that the potential exists to build 19,000 housing units. "But I believe that in practice what will be built will be much less. We will not agree to be dictated to that nothing will be built, but between 0 and 1 there are other possibilities."
At his meeting with Blair, Netanyahu said Israel cannot continue with an absolute settlement freeze, explaining that Israel would not build tens of thousands of housing units that are in the planning stages, but would not suspend the lives of Jewish residents of the West Bank.
Netanyahu also said he did not accept the Palestinian approach that if there is no complete freeze, they would leave the talks. The international community views the settlement freeze issue as a test of Israel’s seriousness, Netanyahu said, but added that Israel also had tests for the seriousness of the Palestinians, such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
Now, I would concede that any freeze is better than no freeze at all, but, it’s been a complete farce from the get-go…
I’d also add that Bibi’s base wants nothing to do with any freeze…
Likud MKs threaten to withdraw support for budget if settlement freeze extended As PM Benjamin Netanyahu prepares for another round of direct peace talks, elements within the Likud party are working to ensure the settlement freeze ends as scheduled.
…Four Likud MKs – Yariv Levin, Tzipi Hotoveli, Danny Danon and Ze’ev Elkin – have threatened to withdraw their support for the 2011-2012 state budget if the settlement freeze is extended.
At a Likud gathering on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom spoke in favor of renewing construction throughout the West Bank once the settlement freeze expires.
"When they speak of building only in the settlement blocs, where exactly is the line?", he said. "Are we ourselves setting the borders before negotiations even begin?"
At the same gathering, Levin called on Netanyahu to "continue the way of the Likud, not the way of the freeze."
Yossi Peled, a minister without a portfolio, criticized the secrecy of Netanyahu’s decision-making process in regards to the peace talks.
"There need to be discussions within the government in which different opinions are heard," he said. "Such a critical matter should not be conducted in secrecy."
Ironically, under that so called 10 month ‘freeze’ the foundations had been laid for 2,066 homes. Having built a handful of houses from the ground up, along with many more additions to existing houses, I’d say that laying the foundations is the longest part in constructing a home. Hence, I’d aver that this Haaretz article dispels all illusions of that ‘freeze’…
Peace Now: 2,066 settlement homes to be built as soon as freeze ends New report indicates an overall of 13,000 previously authorized West Bank housing units, construction sites could be built after the Sept. 26 freeze expiration date.
…The Peace Now reports came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting earlier Sunday that while Israel wouldn’t necessarily continue its freeze on settlement construction, it was possible that a compromise could be reached in which construction would resume at a slower pace.
"I don’t know if there will be a comprehensive freeze," he said. "But I also don’t know if it is necessary to construct all of the 20,000 housing units waiting to be built. In any case, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing."
The Peace Now report released Sunday indicated that work could proceed on 2,066 housing units, spread out over 42 different settlements since those building projects had already received the required permits and have preliminary foundations.
The report’s figures corresponded with previously released data on the subject, which alleged that between 2,000 and 2,500 homes were okayed for continued construction as soon as the settlement freeze expires in September 26.
Hmmm… 2066 preliminary foundations in 42 separate Settlements, smells like a freeze to me…!
Okay, Mahmoud Abbas, are you prepared to recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish State’, and, allow the freeze farce to continue…?
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