Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

...the colonization of Palestine will continue in 9 months.

Communique from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 3 Dec 2009

PM Netanyahu meets with leaders of Judea and Samaria Jewish communities

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning (Thursday), 3 December 2009, in his Tel Aviv office, for approximately two hours, met with the leaders of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Those participating in the meeting voiced their views on the Cabinet's 25 November 2009 decision to suspend construction and the stop-work orders issued pursuant thereto, as well as on the way in which they are being implemented

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "The Cabinet decision is the optimal decision for the State of Israel in the complicated diplomatic situation in which we presently find ourselves, and given the various challenges facing us. We made this tough decision in order to advance Israel's broader interests. This step makes it clear to the main elements around the world that Israel aspires towards peace and is serious in its intention to achieve peace, while the Palestinians refuse to begin peace negotiations.  This step makes it clear who is refusing peace."
 
Prime Minister Netanyahu added: "This order is one-time only and it limits the duration of the suspension. There are nine months and three weeks left. Once the suspension has expired, we will continue to build. I want to make it clear: The future of settlement will be determined only in a permanent peace agreement."


The US Campaign to End to Israeli Occupation caught wind of this communique:

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a "settlement freeze." Sort of.

Netanyahu's announcement of a moratorium on new permits for settlement construction (not including construction already underway or any settlements in occupied East Jerusalem) was hailed by the Obama Administration as a major step forward. We aren't as convinced, especially consideing how completely...well...precedented this sort of announcement is, which we documented on our blog.

Not surprisingly, since this announcement, Netanyahu has been busy making sure that the settler movement knows he doesn't really mean it, allowing the construction of 25 housing units in the settlement colony of Keidar and assuring settler leaders that the moratorium "is one-time only and...limits the duration of the suspension."

Looks as if we will be here for some years to come. Ugh!

Tags: Israel, Netanyahu, obama, Palestine (all tags)

Comments

109 Comments

Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

It's always been impressive the way Israel plays the game. Some master poker players there...

by vecky 2009-12-04 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The strange thing is that, everyone knows it, yet pretends otherwise, including our government.

by MainStreet 2009-12-04 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

It's because we in the west have a hard time telling Israel No.

Look at their nuclear program for a case in point. Everyone knows they have one, but no government will even bring it up let alone say anything against it.

by vecky 2009-12-04 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The estreme pretending is just outrageous. How can people be so fearful of simple truths?

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 01:27AM | 0 recs
Well its time for Abbas and the PA

to come to the table, so there can be a peace agreement, and the settlements will then end as they did in Egypt when Sadat gave his life for peace. Sorry Arafat and Abbas aren't as brave as old Anwar.

by Lakrosse 2009-12-04 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Well its time for Abbas and the PA

Anwar Sadat. Hmmmm.... didn't he go to war with Israel?

by vecky 2009-12-04 10:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Well its time for Abbas and the PA

"fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me."

Try reading the diary and you will understand why Abbas, already pegged as a quisling for doing Israel's dirty work against his own people, isn't taking it any more.

And given recent events, it appears that Hamas was right. They have never stopped fighting against Israel's occupation and its use of American financing and military equipment to colonize lands belonging to the Palestinians.

What damned Palestinian fool would come to the negotiating table to discuss whether Israel should or should not continue stealing their lands. Is that issue really on the table? According to Netanyahu, it is; but according to his statements, it is not. HE WILL CONTINUE THE COLONIALISM OF PALESTINE, NEGOTIATIONS BE DAMNED.

When Israel becomes serious, the colonialism will stop. But that doesn't look to be the case, according to this official report, but it has also never really been the case.

The debate in Israel is whether it should take half of West Bank and all of East Jerusalem, leaving the Palestinians in a group of bantustans, or all of it.

Israel wants to become the next racist Afrikaaner nation, one way or another.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 01:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Well its time for Abbas and the PA

I thought Yitzhak Rabin gave his life for peace.  Wasn't it right-wing Israelis who assassinated their own prime minister because he was willing to end the status of Palestinians as a perpetual stateless people?

by Winston Smith 2009-12-05 01:23AM | 0 recs
yes Rabin gave his life for peace

but that doesn't mean Arafat had to be a coward and deny the peace deal Barak offered, which was not anything to do with Bantustans, but everything to do with the bogus "right of return" which was never granted to Turks and Greeks from the Treaty of Lausanne, the Hindus/Muslims from the India Partition, and most famously the 10 million+ Germans overtly expelled from all of Eastern Europe by approval of the Allies. And 5 times more Germans died marching back to Germany than Palestinians who fled the Land of Israel.

by Lakrosse 2009-12-05 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: yes Rabin gave his life for peace

The Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from Palestine by force and fear, and did not flee their country voluntarily.

This old Israeli propganda just doesn't fly any more.

Arafat was not offered a state as Barak acknowledged that he was unable to get the Knesset to vote to withdraw from "not a single settlement," as he put it in a January 2005 interview with Charlie Rose. The Palestinians were offered nothing in regard to the Palestinian territories. Even Clinton who later claimed he offered 97% of the West Bank was unable to deliver anything, except to put the blame on Arafat. For that matter, during the Oslo period, Clinton permitted the doubling of settlers in the Palestinian territories without saying a word.

He was no doubt rewarded considerably in campaign financing.

Poor Bill. He knows politics (e.g., AIPAC) but he just doesn't know anything about human rights.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: yes Rabin gave his life for peace

As usual, Lakrosse spews propaganda.  There is a difference between denial of a "right of return" and denial of citizenship in any nation, denial of the protection of civil law, denial of travel, commerce, education, and forcing a perpetual military occupation.  

If Israel's military occupation of land (which it does not even formally claim) was just an issue of "denial of right of return" then this debate would not be as necessary and desperate.  

Lakrosse, if you want to make the argument that Palestinians do not deserve to be citizens of any nation, and do not deserve protection of civil law, and should always be ruled under military occupation.. then make that argument.  

If you believe that Israel's denial of civil law to the Palestinian people decade after decade is as evil as I believe it is, then why don't you join the conversation and bring some honest contributions.

by Winston Smith 2009-12-05 08:15PM | 0 recs
Lakrosse/Palin

No use in arguing with someone who holds this position:

[America has] not only a right, but a god given command to lead the world.

http://www.mydd.com/comments/2009/12/3/1 05139/611/14#14

by Strummerson 2009-12-06 10:01AM | 0 recs
It's called "American Exceptionalism"

Because of our basic decency, as well as Divine Providence, American has always been a singular force for good in the world. As Reagan often said, we are the last best hope of man on earth.

Obama smirks at the idea of American Exceptionalism, mumbling a few months ago that "the Greeks probably think they're exceptional, too!" Apparently, he thinks of America as just one more country on the United Nations roll call. His frequent belittling of America is beginning to cost him in terms of public approval.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-12-06 09:03PM | 0 recs
"American Exceptionalism"

Did God not only grant you the right, but command you to share this wisdom with me?

by Strummerson 2009-12-06 09:12PM | 0 recs
"American Exceptionalism"

Actually, Obama has embraced American Exceptionalism.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-07 02:18AM | 0 recs
yea, he is two-faced on it

considering while he bashes American Exceptionalism in one place, he goes around the world making speeches as if he himself can make everything all better, as the AMERICAN President.  

by Lakrosse 2009-12-07 09:34AM | 0 recs
Yeah, right...

I was actually referring to this.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-07 11:31AM | 0 recs
Ah, the old Appleby classics

A good read any time.

G'day.

by Satya 2009-12-07 12:57PM | 0 recs
G"day to You, Too

Those were the days, eh?  Three-hundred comment diaries and a scrolling recommended list.  Always nice to hear from 'fellow travellers,' haven't seen you posting on these boards in a while.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-07 03:11PM | 0 recs
Will there be no end

to the two-faced machinations of the dusky usurper?  Clearly this child of Ham is the antichrist.

by JJE 2009-12-07 01:30PM | 0 recs
Amen, brother

After 11 months of Obama trying to curry favor with Iran---a country that has responded to his entreaties by spitting in his face---the world must now consider the growing nuclear threat that this country poses to all humanity. If Obama remotely understood the ramifications of American Exceptionalism, he would realize that it's our responsibility to join Israel, and take out Iran's nuclear ambitions---period. The groveling that this man engages in while trying to be friends with anyone who will listen to him is just plain sickening.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-12-07 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Amen, brother


If Obama remotely understood the ramifications of American Exceptionalism, he would realize that it's our responsibility to join Israel, and take out Iran's nuclear ambitions - period.

If that's the 'ramifications' of American Exceptionalism then I'm Alexis de Tocqueville.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-07 06:59PM | 0 recs
Quite correct, Brother BJJ

Obama is not doing his part to hasten Jesus's return.  He clearly does not understand Israel's prophesied role in the Tribulation.

by JJE 2009-12-08 03:34AM | 0 recs
Having a bad day?

Don't you have a public option to go find? Let not your heart be troubled: your President---the annointed one---will solve everything.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-12-09 07:58PM | 0 recs
Cease your blasphemy

You need to get right with the Lord lest you burn in the lake of fire for all eternity with all the Muslims, Jews, and Atheists.

Start here.

http://www.amazon.com/Left-Behind-Novel- Earths-Last/dp/0842329129

by JJE 2009-12-11 11:59AM | 0 recs
We should all just listen to Rev. Wright

A man of his brilliance and vision can surely show us the way to salvation.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-12-11 06:27PM | 0 recs
Why did Jesus do 9/11?

Have we fallen out of His favor?

by JJE 2009-12-07 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Why did Jesus do 9/11?

That act was perpretrated by non-Christians; your question is just a juvenile effort to stir the pot.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-12-07 06:42PM | 0 recs
Divine providence

withdrew its protective shield so that the towers might fall.  Probably because of the sodomy.

by JJE 2009-12-08 03:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Why did Jesus do 9/11?

Is the pot legal, and how does stirring it help?

by Strummerson 2009-12-08 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I still think we are headed for some kind of unilateral declaration of independence for Palestine.  If the EU is considering it how far behind could the US be?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-04 11:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

It may be the tests of all tests for the Obama administraton. If Obama senses that he must obey AIPAC, he will never support such a declaration, and in fact, may lead an effort to defeat it in the UN, especially if it comes before the Security Council. If he believes he is strong enough to withstand AIPAC, then things may change.

But seriously, does anyone think that Obama will ever use the nuclear option: halt US aid to Israel, which he can do?

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 01:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

This is the only way.  

by Winston Smith 2009-12-05 01:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Who cannot agree. The situation has reached the point where the Palestinians, after years of subterfuge, have absolutely nothing to lose.

But it was surprising to learn that the EU came out against this unilateral move. Does the EU really have another path to take on behalf of peace? The Sweden minister for the EU recently came out reasserting the Road Map on behalf of the EU, and now is being pilloried for it by several EU nations. And the only thing he asserted was that East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine, which Netanyahu (disappointingly supported by Obama) took off the table.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 01:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Far far behind. You can be sure Congress will pass a resolution (non-binding) ofcourse that forbids recognition.

It will be the most the US admin can do to prevent Congress from declaring Palestine a terrorist state and cutting off aid.

by vecky 2009-12-05 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Perhaps so but as far as creating negotiating leverage it goes a considerable way toward being an 'end run' around Likud intransigence.  I wonder, I really do.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-05 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I think that result is inevitable, even though Netanyahu warned that such a declaration would nullify all previous agreements.

Well, since Israel has never abided by any past agreements beginning with Oslo, what the hell is there to lose. The stalemate that persists today is not really a stalemate. Israel is continuing its colonization day to day and week to week, the result of which is more intransigence and refusal to negotiate if not a pretense to do so.

It is time for the Obama administration to take a stand one way or the other. If that is a wrong stand, then other approaches such as the BDS Movement will gain more importance.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

This diary truly puzzles me.  Of all the things for which Netanyahu's most recent move can be criticized, the fact that it's temporary is the last one.  No one on the planet thought or expected that it would be permanent.

Anyone who follows the issue of IP negotiations knows that the Palestinians have been arguing that negotiations can only take place under a settlement freeze, so they're not continuing to lose their lands while the overall situation is negotiated.  By definition, what they're asking for is temporary.

It's like asking for a cease-fire in an armed conflict so the two sides can come to the bargaining table.  No one would say "wait, that's a phony cease-fire, because if there's no peace treaty you intend to keep on shooting!"

If you want to insist on a permanent end to settlements before negotiations even take place, good luck with that.  It's certainly not something the Palestinians would be clueless enough to expect themselves.

by Steve M 2009-12-05 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

You are joking, no?

"It's like asking for a cease-fire in an armed conflict so the two sides can come to the bargaining table.  No one would say "wait, that's a phony cease-fire, because if there's no peace treaty you intend to keep on shooting!"

Yes, and if there is no ceasefire, the colonization will just continue as it has for 40 years during negotiations. Netayahu (I think not you) knows what he is doing and that the Palestinians would never come to the table if he continues it.

And he has. There is no phony ceasefire; there just isn't any ceasefire at all.

Read the diary.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The freeze is not being attacked for being temporary, it's being attacked as a gimmick, i.e: it's no freeze at all.

Just prior to the freeze Israel announced the construction of 3000 additional units. Those are still continuing despite the freeze, and has been pointed out 3000 units over ten months is actually a equal to average rate of settlement expansion anyway. I'm sure if Israel stopped the construction of these and other "exempted" units during the freeze it could be considered a real move.

by vecky 2009-12-05 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

You're absolutely correct. There is no freeze and the rate of building in settlements is pretty much the same as before this gimmicky freeze.

I might take issue here with East Jerusalem, however, because Netanyahu stated boldly that it is off limits as far as any freeze is concerned. Evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes is continuing, perhaps at a higher rate than before. It is obvious therefore that the colonialism is continuing, and nothing has changed.

Oh, and I might note that Barak has just approved 35 new housing units in one settlement, but I don't know the details.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Yes, I understand that, and it is a valid criticism.  The fact that it's temporary is not a valid criticism, since even a genuine settlement freeze would be temporary.

by Steve M 2009-12-05 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

What?

You are not reading the diary or understanding the reality of this situation. Netanyahu guaranteed the settler organizations that this halt in settlement buildng (which in any case is not halting anyway) is temporary and that in 9 months we shall continue building.

IN SHORT, THE COLONIZATION WHICH HAS NOT STOPPED INTERMITTENTLY ANYWAY WILL CONTINUE IN 9 MONTHS. IT IS ONLY TEMPORARY.

Do you need someone to interpret the meaning of this for you or can you get it, finally, on your own? It is called colonization.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

You're screaming at me because I don't care about your little buzzwords.  The fact is, the only possibility that is only on the table prior to final status negotiations is that Israel might agree to a temporary freeze.  No one with a clue expects them to stop permanently before negotiations even commence.

I'll say it again: you can criticize Netanyahu's latest stunt for any number of reasons, but the fact that it's temporary isn't one of them.

by Steve M 2009-12-06 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Steve, you're just not getting it. There is no temporary freeze, no freeze at all. The building is continuing at the same rate in the West Bank and is being accelerated in East Jerusalem. And that's why the Palestinians aren't buying in. For that matter, anything temporary indicates that at some point, even if it were real, that it will begin again shortly.

Why do I continually have to explain the obvious?

by MainStreet 2009-12-06 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

PS: It would really help you to understand what is going on today if you just read George Orwell. His works are a virtual primer in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And besides, you won't feel so much like a...well, an outsider?

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Steve,

I get your point here.  But the problem is indeed in part the temporary nature or this gimmicky move.  Take your cease-fire analogy.  If the militarily stronger party offers a cease-fire with an expiration date, it just emphasizes the gun to the head.  The settlement freeze needs to be an open ended, albeit temporary cessation of hostilities (Palestinians understandably experience settlement construction as hostility) that will terminate in a negotiated final status.  Bibi wants to set a clock that basically sends the message: agree to my terms within nine months or I put the pedal to the settlement metal again.  This is not the same thing as an open ended cease-fire that describes a good faith intention to frame a mutually acceptable final status.

by Strummerson 2009-12-05 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The very notion of a "temporary" cessation of the colonization makes clear that it is not over, that it will resume at some near future date, in the case, allegedly 10 months.

The problem is that even this temporary concept is bogus, since the rate at which building is continuing or will continue is not much different than the rate of building before the freeze proposal. The Palestinians are not fools, and many have commented on the pretension nature of Netanyahu's freeze proposal. Except for a short period when Rabin stopped settlement growth, the colonization has just never stopped.

It makes one wonder just what the settlers are complaining about.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Yes indeed.  The larger problem with the temporary cessation is not that it is temporary, it's that it's not a cessation.  On that, we agree.  I was responding to Steve and suggesting that his cease-fire analogy had some merit, i.e. that all cease-fires are temporary (though they also all cease the firing, which this does not).  The problem with the temporary part of it, which again I agree is secondary, is that it is structured less as an opportunity to work things out and come to agreement than as a threat.  It's not the inherently temporary nature of the [non]cessation, it's that framing it as a one time offer with a deadline turns it into the basis for an ultimatum.

by Strummerson 2009-12-05 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Would that be an ultimatum to make peace on Israeli terms: no Jerusalem capitol, no Jordan Valley, to Jordanian border, no right of return, no withdrawal of settlements, etc?

I just can't imagine that Netanyahu would hope for an agreement on such a peace settlement, as we are only heading into the next phase of this conflict: Israeli Apartheid.

And so if the Palestinians do not accept the ultimatum to put their nation into an Apartheid relationship with Israel, then what? Will Israel go there anyway via Sharon's concept of disengagement, perhaps getting rid of some hilltop outposts but keeping the remaining colonized territory? It is Israeli Apartheid inevitable any way you look at it.

Alternatively, Netanyahu may opt to manage Palestine through Halper's concept of "managed conflict" and propaganda and just keep expanding the settlements to their maximum, then retire. Let the younger generations face the world. Livni and Barak are of course lost causes.

The Palestinians, however, may be looking elsewhere than toward Netanyahu and the Obama administration, perhaps growing the world wide BDS Movement and doing something they should have done years ago, gaining political support from other countries to gain their freedom and self-determination.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I don't pretend to know what Bibi thinks he can get with this.  I don't consider his approach to anything here rational or ethical.  What he wants and hopes, we all know what that is, we know it won't work.

The only thing that seems hopeful of late is the EU draft position.

by Strummerson 2009-12-05 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The EU draft position, a Swedish one, is not likely to be supported by all EU members. But we may have to wait and see on this one. Europe is less subject to media censorship about such things than the US.

Israeli embassys all over Europe are reportedly working hard to nullify the draft.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Not reportedly, they are explicitly trying to block it.  No matter what happens, it certainly pushes the conversation.  It's no game changer, for sure, just the only positive diplomatic phenomenon in a while.

by Strummerson 2009-12-05 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Whatever, this is a good development to watch. If Obama wishes to regain the impetus to peace that Netanyahu undermined, he will be working behind the scenes to get the EU to support the two state solution ala the Swedish draft.

Obama's face is America's face and until that is regained, Netanyahu's dominance is just more evidence that the US is becoming a second rate power.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 04:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

PS: I hope that you don't mind my responding to your post.

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I don't especially agree with that.  Either party would always have the ability to walk away from negotiations no matter what the stated time frame might be.  And if negotiations are actually going well, there's nothing that prevents an extension of the freeze.  It's just Israel's way of sending the message that they hold the cards, which isn't entirely inaccurate.

Let me put it this way.  Let's assume it were a real settlement freeze instead of whatever the heck it is, but it only lasts for 9 months.  In such an event, do you think the Palestinians should say, "Screw it, unless it's a permanent freeze, we're not even going to bother"?  Or would you advise them to head to the negotiating table and see what could be accomplished in the next 9 months?

Anyway, at least you see what I'm driving at here, unlike MainStreet who just wants to rant and rave like usual.  Yes, we know, Israel is a bad-faith actor 100% of the time, blah blah blah.

by Steve M 2009-12-06 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Actually, Bibi has repeatedly emphasized that this is a one time offer, so extension doesn't seem to be in the cards.  It's nothing but the basis for an ultimatum dressed up as a good faith opening for negotiation.

Now as to whether or not the PA should take it anyway, I think they should but I don't think they can.  Obama miscalculated with his whole strategy of "confidence building measures" from the get go.  This isn't Obama bashing.  I supported it at the time, so I was wrong also.  When Obama basically set a construction freeze as something like a pre-condition, he boxed Abbas in politically.  Abbas cannot appear less emphatically opposed to settlement construction than Obama.  Personally, I think Abbas has more to gain and Bibi more to lose at the negotiating table.  And I think that Palestinian insistence on a freeze prior to negotiating lends legitimacy to the "facts on the ground."  The more productive position would be to negotiate regardless with an attitude of: "Build as much as you want.  Your construction adventures have no legitimacy from our perspective anyway and removing settlers after the agreement will be entirely your problem.  Expect zero consideration of those difficulties."

My objections to Bibi's coalition and policies are ethical.  My problems with the PA are primarily tactical.  The freeze is bullshit.  It's not a freeze and it's one time temporary structure makes it into the performance of a threat.  The PA should do everything to get Bibi to the table and expose his maneuvers there.  But that's easy for me to say.  I do face the complicated politics that Abbas does.

by Strummerson 2009-12-06 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The sooner they negotiate, the more land they wind up with at the end of the day, it seems to me.  I don't know what you suggest as an alternative to negotiation, but it sure seems like they risk overplaying a very weak hand.  The moral high ground is not worth a lot when you are losing the literal ground.

by Steve M 2009-12-06 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Again, I'm not sure that they can go to the table without a real freeze at this point, given internal politics and the rift with HAMAS.  It's not so much an issue of what the alternatives are.  It's a matter of political feasibility.  But if they can use the stand off to build international pressure, it might strengthen their hand.  You are right that Israel holds most of the cards, with one caveat.  They hold the short-term cards, but not the long term ones.  Demographic trends and international patience do not serve Israel's prospects well.  

I actually think that Israel stands to lose much more if one takes the long view.  So do many Israelis, even if many of these are not prepared to face what is necessary to close a deal, i.e. something along the lines of the Saudi/Arab League plan (with some territorial exchanges, international security guarantees, and a compromise on refugees).  If Israel wants a two state solution, the window is closing.  The status quo will prove unsustainable.  The Palestinians aren't going to give up and assimilate into the surrounding states (that's not even working so well in Jordan) no matter how much of their land is seized and settled.  The delusions of the center-to-right in Israel are formidable.

by Strummerson 2009-12-06 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I basically agree with you, although I think the power of international opinion is overrated in this case.

by Steve M 2009-12-07 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Yes and no.  Israelis thrive in some ways on the sense that they are embattled and isolated, as it serves the myth of Israel's self-reliance as an antidote to the historical insecurity of the diaspora.  On the other hand, they actually fear, for good reason, loss of markets and cultural interchange with Western Europe.  The threat of any real economic sanctions and/or boycotts is taken quite seriously, for good reasons.  

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

By the way, to extend your analogy a little further: if some guy is beating the crap out of me, and he says he's willing to stop for 10 minutes to see if we can work things out, that does indeed emphasize that in 10 minutes he is fully capable of kicking my ass again.  But I'm still going to spend those 10 minutes talking.

by Steve M 2009-12-06 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

You have pretty much hit bottom with this analogy, Steve. I respect your willingness to defend the Netanyahu government, but not your willingness to go to the absurd to do so.

by MainStreet 2009-12-06 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I don't defend the Netanyahu government, I just point out when you make weak arguments.

by Steve M 2009-12-06 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The circularity here is obvious: the reason Palestinians demand a freeze is a weak argument, ergo, Mainstreet support for the Palestinian position is a weak argument. Netayahu's position is strong, hence the Palestinians are wrong.

At least give Abbas a break. He just went through a year of pretentious negotiations with Olmert, and he is undoubtedly also aware of the Oslo hoax, which was to lead to a Palestinian state, but unfortunately, all of those settlers moving into the West Bank kind of made negotiations complicated, as seen in its culmination in the Camp David/Taba fiasco.

The Palestinians are well versed in this subterfuge, and so is Abbas. I think he is probably thinking: we're not going through this bullshit again. Stop the colonization and we will believe that you are finally sincere. And indeed most of the world sans the US is coming to see it as well.

Netanyahu sincere? A pathetic joke!

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 04:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

PS: Did you say something stopped, like settlement building during this "freeze" and that there is a pause?

Allow me to repost from a Haaretz article:

"...analysis of the situation on the ground suggests that there will be nearly no change in settlement construction, at least not in the coming months.

According to Defense Ministry data, there are currently some 2,500 housing units under construction and contractors are entitled to complete them. The construction of a further 490 units was recently approved in an unusual move by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Netanyahu's declaration is not catching the settlers by surprise. The government's intentions have been known for five months, and during that time the settlers have stepped up new construction in an effort to get ahead of the restrictions. Hundreds of new housing units are in the process of construction, among other places in Bracha, Yitzhar, Eli, Shilo, Betar Ilit, Elazar, Carmel and Ma'on.?

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

No, I didn't say that.  This is about the fifth time you've knocked down that particular strawman, keep it up.

by Steve M 2009-12-07 09:22AM | 0 recs
Psst...

...probably not worth it.  I think your points here helpful for discussion, even if you are a fascist bastard colonialist Islamophobe in purple polka-dot tights.  MS is less forgiving.

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

From I am reading, you essentially said that there was a fight going on and that one party wants to stop fighting for ten minutes in order to come to some way of ending it.

What I said was that the proposed halt in the fighting is an illusion and that the fight (colonialism) is still continuing while we speak, but that one party wants to pretend it hasn't and thereby appear peaceful.

Israeli politics over the past 40 years (at least) is not difficult to understand. You only have to look at the reality, and I can assure that you won't get it from the American press. We no longer have a 4th Estate in this country. It has been bought up by the highest bidders.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

You don't really read, you just repeat the same slogans over and over.  From my first post in this thread I have made it clear that I find many things to criticize in the so-called settlement freeze, I just don't agree that its temporary nature is one of them.

In other words, IF it were a real freeze (which it's not, in my view), then I would find it ludicrous to refuse to negotiate on the basis that the freeze has only a limited duration.  At this point I've grown tired of trying to restate the argument since you're clearly not interested in even trying to get it.

Strummerson actually tries to comprehend and respond to other people's points, which is probably why his posts seem so befuddling to you.

by Steve M 2009-12-07 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

You are still not getting it Steve:

"find it ludicrous to refuse to negotiate on the basis that the freeze has only a limited duration."

And that's the problem here. You don't get it because you don't get the fact that there is no freeze. Period. But you keep repeating the notion that there is. Consequently, you don't understand the Palestinian position.

Agree with you that this banter is not going anywhere and should be dropped.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Wow, I don't get it, even though I said it in the very comment you responded to.  You are simply impossible.

by Steve M 2009-12-07 12:31PM | 0 recs
Here's what you miss

SteveM: "IF it were a real freeze (which it's not, in my view), then I would find it ludicrous to refuse to negotiate on the basis that the freeze has only a limited duration"

Does that help?

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Steve finds it, in his own words, "I would find it ludicrous" that the Palestinians won't negotiate because the fake freeze in settlement building is of a short duration. Only a fool would find it ludicrous that the Palestinians are not ready to pretend that a real freeze exists if any duration at all. Are they to enter in to fake peace negotiations? Well, they've been through that numerous times. Fool me once...etc.etc.

George Orwell where are you when we need you?

In any case, the Palestinians seem to be looking toward other ways to stop the colonization of their lands.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Is English not your first language?

by Steve M 2009-12-07 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

I think you should read some Orwell before invoking him again, as I never quite grasp how you think you are using him.

I recommend starting with this: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orw ell46.htm

And I am very sorry you are struggling to grasp Steve's point.  It's really not that arcane.

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Both you and Steve believe that the Palestinians should engage in negotiations when a settlement freeze has not occurred, and you both agree it is a fake, just another ploy by the Israelis.

Could it be that the Palestinians are just not as stupid as you perceive them to be? Obama laid down the prerequisite for peace negotiations in Cairo: stop the colonization. And that is what it will take.

Is it that hard to understand that the Palestinians will not negotiate with the Israelis when they refuse, even momentarily, to stop stealing their lands?

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

I don't think Palestinians are stupid at all.  That's a downright shitty thing to accuse me or anyone of without any grounds.  Now that is not to say that there are not some stupid Palestinians, just as there are stupid Swedes and stupid Indonesians and stupid Brazilians.  I understand the moral point of refusing to negotiate without a freeze.  I happen to think it is not the most effective position from a tactical standpoint.  But I also think that it's unfair to demand that the PA does so as this has a great deal to do with their internal political position.  This has nothing to do with stupidity or lack of understanding.  The deficiency is on your part, your unrelenting need to personalize everything and cast every disagreement as proof of your superior understanding and moral purity.  Sometimes its a tactical point.  As for your ad hominem crap, just the same old same old.

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

THen we can both agree that the Palestinian position is not a stupid one, but one based on decades of experience in dealing with Israeli peace negotiations to nowhere, the last dose of which was given by Olmert, if you recall. Anyone who believes that Netanyahu will somehow veer from the stall tactics and deception of prior Israeli negotiators is quite naive.

Abbas is not naive. Nothing more needs to be said. Another path has to be found.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Actually, what I intended is somewhat different.  I think the PA has more to gain from going to the table at this point and more to lose by standing on this valid moral principle.  I think Bibi has much more to lose by going to the table (hence his stall tactics) and much more to gain by avoiding it, as long as he can maintain some quasi-plausible deniability regarding his avoidance.  He's not fooling either of us.  But he fools many Israelis and enough Americans.  Obama boxed Abbas in by setting up a construction freeze as a necessary "confidence-building measure" (read pre-condition).  Abbas cannot appear to take a softer line than Obama, so he has no maneuvering room.  Even if he wanted to negotiate now, which I think would be tactically more advantageous to him, he cannot do it given the internal political situation in the West Bank and Gaza.  Obama was wrong and so was I.  Abbas tactics are flawed, but given the current situation I cannot blame him.

I hope you're not offended by the complexity.  Feel free to disagree.  But keep in mind this is a tactical disagreement, not a moral one.  We happen to support the same two state solution.  I think it's a flawed solution but the best possible in the near term, if it's possible.  In the mean time, I think Palestinian residents in the territories should start applying for Israeli citizenship en masse, and East Jerusalemites should do the same and start participating in municipal elections.  I don't think they will, for cultural-historical reasons, unless Marwan Barghouti gets out of jail and rallies them to do this.  But this would be the most effective way for Palestinians to pressure Israel toward the two state solution.  And if not, it becomes a civil rights struggle.  Israel wants to avoid that at any cost.

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

I appreciate your view, but I disagree that Abbas has more to lose if he doesn't negotiate under these conditions than if he did. The history just doesn't support that view. I mentioned the recent Olmert experience, someone who actually kept talking about two states lest Israel lose its Jewish majority. Beyond Olmert, the past is even less optimistic about a future two states solution.

Netanyahu will never "disengage" from any settlements as he lacks the military authority of a Sharon to do so. His unwillingness to give up the Jordan Valley furthermore pretty much leads to an Apartheid offer to the Palestinians, with perhaps the concept of bantustans replaced with cantons.

No I have to disagree. The settlement freeze is the breaking point. For the Palestinians to concede this point any or all of the above.

The world is turning against Israeli colonialism, except maybe the Germans who are still operating under a cloud of Holocaust guilt.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Brazilians?  How many is a Brazillion?  LIAR!

/snark

by fogiv 2009-12-07 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

A good rendition of Orwellian thought, as I apprecaite it, is this:

"a thought process in which ideas that are obviously self-contradictory are accepted as true based on the fact that an authority figure is asserting them."

That seems to defines Netanyahu, and those people here and elsewhere who would repeat his concept of a freeze as a basis for negotiating peace should be considered Orwellian.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

One can critique most government rhetorics in this way.  I think it's more important to focus on the particulars of how Bibi operates.  I also think it's inappropriate to imply or accuse someone here who is discussing things in good faith of being Orwellian.  You've used this ad hominem tactic with me before.  You use it with Steve now, or so it seems.  

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

When you imply the Palestinians are foolish for balking at the invitation to negotiate while their lands are being confiscated under their feet, I would have to say you have bought into Orwellian thinking.

That's my opionion. Feel free to disagree. That is what debate is all about.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

I don't think they are foolish.  I understand why they won't.  But I don't think it serves their interests.

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 02:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Then you will have to inform the Palestinians of just how their best interests are served by bending to Netanyahu's subterfuge.

Read the Likud Charter, or even the newspapers as to where Netanyahu is taking this conflict. Once the Palestinians sit down, Bibi will only pull out some more preconditions he has up his sleeve, which will lead to more stalling, until, alas, 10 months go by, and the settlement building freeze that never was, will resume.

The settlers and right wing will then celebrate: the Palestinians do not want peace. Let's continue the colonization.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

I am not going to inform the Palestinians of anything.  But I think their interests are best served by Abbas standing up to Bibi's subterfuge at a table with Oabama's envoy George Mitchell at a high publicity summit on center stage.

I've read the Likud charter.  I read the Hebrew press.  The point is to pull the plug on the "the PA doesn't want peace" meme, which is actually fed by bending to Bibi's subterfuge by letting him monkey with different "freezes" to obstruct their getting to that table.  Facing down Bibi at a table headed by Mitchell is simply not the same thing as the Olmert teas.  It's the forum where Abbas could make the case that something between the Saudi/Arab plan and the Geneva accord (which are very close) is the best thing for all involved.  But I don't think the internal political situation in the PA will let him do this even if he wants to.  And I understand how difficult it would be given the history.  This isn't a condemnation of Abbas or the Palestinians.  It's an analysis of how difficult this situation is.  That's why I was thrilled about the Sweden/EU draft.  We need something to help shake things up to get to the table.  

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Your hopes are mine as well, only in predicting the future, I just not as optimistic as you are concerning the value of negotiating when the colonialism continues unabated.

George Mitchell has already proved himself a weak player, and his comedown from the freeze position was almost as bad as Hillary's "unprecedented" comment about Netanyahu's crumbs to the Palestinians. My concern with that comment was that it implied clear subordination of the Obama administration to the leader of a small colonialist state to whom it is apparently beholden. That attitude necessarily comes out of Obama, a bad sign.

As for what might transpire in negotiations, I can only refer to past experience. The past predicts the future, and the Likud Charter is where I believe they would go under Netanyahu.
For that matter, by his actions to date, Netanyahu is already implementing it.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

You misunderstand me.  Perhaps I haven't emphasized this point enough, but I don't think that any agreement would come from negotiation at this point.  But I think if the PA could come to the table and push for some version of the Saudi/Arab League or Geneva Accord plan, it would put Bibi in a very uncomfortable position as he would have to make the case that his parameters of a bogus Palestinian pseudo-State constitute a reasonable and viable state in this context.  I think he would be hard pressed to do this and I think it would expose his position further.  Sure, he'd try to paint the PA as rejectionists.  But I think that would only work for the choir he preaches to.  

I don't think you attend enough to the fact that his stalling tactics indicate a recognition on his part that he needs to avoid the table.  If he thought he could get what he wanted there (as described in the Likud charter) he'd be doing everything to orchestrate it.

As for Mitchell, I don't blame him.  He was dealt an impossible hand by Obama and Clinton.  He has a track record of achievement once people get in the room.  But I don't think he can produce an agreement.  Again, I think that a table he presides over already is radically different from tea cups at Olmert's house in terms of the framework and attention.  The reasonableness and practicality of the two state solution, for both sides, can only be demonstrated in this forum.  It would change the dynamic of the discussion going forward.

by Strummerson 2009-12-08 04:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what you miss

Bibi's logic is Orwellian and if I somehow implied that Steve was using it, that was wrong. However, if he is taking Netanyahu's arguments as his own view, then certainly he would be espousing Orwellian logic.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

PS: Sometimes you just have to ignore Strummerson (above). He really doesn't know what side he is on, or maybe he does.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

PPS: You are the only one on this blog who doesn't comprehend my position.  It's quite clear, whether one agrees or not.

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Quite true.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

That is one way of looking at it.

However consider if Al-Asqa Maytrs Brigade had announced: "In the interest of peace, we'll freeze lobbing rockets. But only for 9 months. After that we'll start again."

Maybe that would be acceptable, but it certianly would not be a "confidence building measure" which is what all these steps are supposed to be.

by vecky 2009-12-05 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Yes. That would be the basis for an ultimatum, just as this is, a threat as opposed to a good faith initiative to come to agreement.

by Strummerson 2009-12-05 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Sure, but you take what you can get, especially when the other side holds the cards in the first place.

During the most recent period of rocket attacks, Hamas did indeed propose about a half-dozen cease-fires with various terms and conditions attached, so this dynamic flows both ways.  You sure didn't hear MainStreet complaining that they weren't pure and unconditional offers back then.

by Steve M 2009-12-06 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

The only condition that Hamas imposed was for the IDF to stop incursions into Gaza and the West Bank in order to kill Palestinian fighters against the military occupation. In the process, especially using tank shellings and jet fighters, Israel often killed innocent civilians including children. Otherwise the dirty work was done by assassination squads.

Look up B'Tselem and take a look at the death tolls.

On the other hand, if you have any udnerstanding of the political situation you would know that the underlying reason for continuing to target Hamas was its use by Israel as a red herring to distract attention from the colonization of Palestinian lands that was and continues to go on. Israel of course is the victim in this conflict, Hamas now the terrorist group intending to throw Israel into the sea.

The naive can go their own way, we will go ours.

by MainStreet 2009-12-06 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

On the point that there has been no change in settlement construction as a consequence of the proposed freeze, there is this comment from a Haaretz article:

There can be no doubt: Under heavy U.S. pressure, Netanyahu crossed an ideological Rubicon from his point of view. The announcement to freeze settlements joins the Bar-Ilan declaration, in which the prime minister agreed to a two-state solution. But in practice, analysis of the situation on the ground suggests that there will be nearly no change in settlement construction, at least not in the coming months.

According to Defense Ministry data, there are currently some 2,500 housing units under construction and contractors are entitled to complete them. The construction of a further 490 units was recently approved in an unusual move by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Netanyahu's declaration is not catching the settlers by surprise. The government's intentions have been known for five months, and during that time the settlers have stepped up new construction in an effort to get ahead of the restrictions. Hundreds of new housing units are in the process of construction, among other places in Bracha, Yitzhar, Eli, Shilo, Betar Ilit, Elazar, Carmel and Ma'on.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131 086.html

by MainStreet 2009-12-05 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I do wonder what will happen if 9 months from now Abbas tells Bibi, OK let's negotiate. Will Israel extend their freeze, which would at that point become an actual freeze, or continue with business as usual.

Hahaha, I can't believe I asked that. Still what happens 9-10 months from now will be interesting.

by vecky 2009-12-07 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Bibi already promised settlers in the West Bank that after nine months, three weeks, they will resume building. The reality is, however, that they are building new housing every day during those nine months.

East Jerusalem settlers can go ahead as there's no restriction, or pretended restriction, on their building.

So Netanyahu has already answered the question.

by MainStreet 2009-12-07 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I think it's important to include here the ongoing evictions of East Jerusalemites from their homes.  It's not just that Bibi refuses to include East J'lem in his bogus freeze.  He continues both to move Jews in and to force Palestinians out.  This makes it exponentially worse from all perspectives.

by Strummerson 2009-12-07 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Serious question: how much settlement activity is actually orchestrated by the central government, and how much of it is simply private activity that the government condones?

by Steve M 2009-12-07 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

I wasn't really aware there was a difference....

There are some settlements that are "illegal" by Israeli standards, most of these are dismantled because it would cost the Israelis too much to provide security for them. Given the security situation pretty much all settler activity is made in close co-operation with the government/military.

by vecky 2009-12-07 09:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

It's a good question and I think Vecky's answer a pretty good one.  If we include East J'lem, and I do, then the vast majority of settlement activity is not just condoned but partially sponsored by the government.  The government controls the land through the "Israel Lands Administration" and subsidizes sales and construction while guaranteeing security.  Some of the "outposts" are officially illegal, but the IDF still protects them as well.  None of it is fully private and none fully public, but the government bears responsibility for it all and has actively sponsored the majority of it.  So I can't give you figures.  It's a bit more complex.

by Strummerson 2009-12-08 04:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

Thanks to both of you, that makes sense.

I do not have the slightest ounce of sympathy for the settler movement.

by Steve M 2009-12-08 04:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

"Some of the "outposts" are officially illegal."

All of the outposts are officially illegal, to my understanding, by Israeli standards, while all of the settlements are illegal by international law, and that, Israel does not get to determine.

It was also reported (no link) sometime in the recent past that many of these outposts were being legalized by changing their name to that of the nearest large "legal" settlement, thereby becoming a suburb. If true it's a pretty slick move. I also understand that Barak announced recently that he intended to dismantle 20 of those outposts, but I don't think it ever happened.

The illegality of the major settlements is based, per Israeli propaganda (think Frank Luntz, who recommended calling Palestinian land "disputed" not occupied) on the notion of "disputed territory." The only argument one can make for that comes from the religious loonies, the settlers, and is based on religious determinism. Nothing more.

Peres avers that Israel will not build any "new" settlements (their numbers now exceed 130, I believe), but he never remarked on the expansion of existing settlements, which is happening now. What's the difference? None as far as I can tell.

We are being asked to these developments and to see them as a peace gesture. Keep your hands on your back pockets. The theft is continuing. And praise the Palestinian ledership which is calling it what it is. Netanyahu is just Israel's latest pick-pocket.

by MainStreet 2009-12-08 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

It was also reported (no link) sometime in the recent past that many of these outposts were being legalized by changing their name to that of the nearest large "legal" settlement, thereby becoming a suburb. If true it's a pretty slick move.

That's the whole "outpost" game.  They are mostly "outposts" of existing settlements.  They set up a few mobile homes on an adjacent hilltop with the idea of extending the existing settlement to incorporate the "outpost" down the road.  

by Strummerson 2009-12-08 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu to Obama: on settlements, April fool

If true, then these blobs shown below, a gulag collectively, what remains of Palestinian land, is diminishing while we speak.

Photobucket

by MainStreet 2009-12-08 06:05AM | 0 recs

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