The US-Israeli Conflict: the latest games
by MainStreet, Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 08:29:25 AM EDT
While the Netayuha government persists in its refusal to freeze the building of settlements, a few days ago George Mitchell, Obama's point man on establishing Palestinian statehood "within two years," raised the ante, indicating that the US might go directly to talks about setting Israel's (hence, the future Palestinian state's) borders.
It almost seems as if Netanyahu's intransigence on the settlement freeze is raising the stakes in what is becoming a chess match. Setting borders avoids the settlement freeze issue.
Senior U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama's Mideast envoy George Mitchell, say they might propose immediate talks on setting Israel's border along the West Bank.
The move comes in light of Israel's opposition to a freeze on settlement construction and would determine which settlements will remain in Israel in a final deal that would see the emergence of a Palestinian state.
Yesterday, Shimon Peres also side-stepped the issue of freezing settlements by announcing that the provisional borders of the Palestinian state should be implemented according to the second stage of the Road Map, one which would also permanently stop the colonization process. That the eyes wide open hypocrisy of past US presidents is gone is apparently being recognized.
In the meantime, Bibi Netanyahu's position remains stuck on preconditions: "yes to the Road Map but no to a settlement freeze," with the precondition, "above all," that it is accompanied by "Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people." Since separation of Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel continues, it is something the Palestinians have adamantly refused to do. As recently reported by Jonathan Cook, loyalty oaths, the invention of Avigdor Lieberman, are now being used to keep Arabs out of local Israeli towns. This is not the kind of thing that would encourage liberal Americans to pay attention to right wing preconditions.
And so the games go on.