Thursday, November 26, 2009

Netanyahu keeps on giving and giving

(Shimon Shiffer-Ynet).The decision to halt residential construction in the settlements and the deal being formulated with Hamas have one thing in common: In both cases the Israeli side gives something and doesn’t get anything in return, or alternately, gets much less.

The decision passed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the cabinet Wednesday regarding the halt of construction in Judea and Samaria was supposed to prompt an immediate response by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in respect to a Palestinian return to the negotiations table.

However, a senior official on the Palestinian side was quick to dismiss the Israeli gesture and announced: “We have no intention whatsoever to renew our talks with Netanyahu.”

Despite Netanyahu’s announcement that construction will be renewed following the 10-month freeze, anyone who has been monitoring the relationship between Bibi and Obama is convinced that even at the end of this period, no Israeli bulldozer will be making its way to a West Bank hill. The freeze will go on.

Those who were unable to withstand the American and international pressure thus far will not be able to withstand future pressure.

Netanyahu can seek comfort in one thing only. The pledges he made are “pretend pledges.” First, because for a long time now, no new construction plans have been approved in the settlements. On top of it, Netanyahu does not intend to put an end to the construction of thousands of residential units that are already in process, the construction of public buildings in the West Bank, or any kind of construction in Jerusalem. So is it any wonder that Benny Begin is an enthusiastic supporter of this “freeze”?