Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Sucker's Bet

Seems that Hillary has been busy with Mr. Netanyahu, and has convinced him to try for a 90-day, one-time-only, freeze on West Bank settlements building (although it's by no means certain that Netanyahu will include East Jerusalem in the freeze, which diminishes its worth significantly).  The NY Times headlines it as a "90-Day Bet."
How about calling it what it really is: a bribe.
The US will pony up an additional 20 top-of-the-line F-35 fighter planes, and also promise to give Israel all the diplomatic cover it needs to prevent any movement in the UN toward declaring unilaterally a Palestinian state - a prospect that's been getting lots of attention in recent days.
So, is this what we call being an "honest broker"?
Palestinian officials are outraged - and justifiably so. The Lebanon Daily Star tells us why:
 In private, Palestinian officials have expressed anger over US incentives to get Israel to prolong the partial freeze on Jewish settlement building, saying it effectively constituted bribing Israel to fulfil basic international obligations. . . . .  Settlement watchdog Peace Now published a report Sunday showing that in the seven weeks since the end of the freeze, Jewish settlers had begun building work on 1,649 new homes – more than making up for the 10-month ban. Figures showed that since the freeze ended, new homes had been started in 63 settlements and, in more than two-thirds of cases, settlers had begun laying the foundations. . . . .  Also Sunday, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Israel was showing it lacks the will for peace through its actions in the Palestinian territories. “Israel is not a partner for peace. Instead, the policies of colonization [of the Palestinian territories], judaizing Jerusalem and blockade of the Gaza Strip continue,” Moallem said.“Israel and those who sponsor it should assume the sole responsibility for the freezing of the peace process.”

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