Speaking at a news conference with Clinton on Saturday, Netanyahu repeated the concessions he is willing to make: Israel will build no new settlement communities, expropriate no land for existing ones and limit the number of permits for new housing construction.This is what Hilary's creaming her jeans over? But wasn't the U.S. requiring a full stop on all settlement activity? Seems once upon a time it was so:
In previous statements, Israeli officials had said they would permit no more than about 3,000 new homes for nine months after a new round of peace talks starts.
The settlements, built on land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, have been a stumbling block in decades of efforts to end the conflict. The last round of U.S.-brokered talks broke off last December, in part because Palestinian leaders felt the process was undermined by ongoing settlement activity. Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.Well, if the Israelis don't like it, that's good enough for us! Richard Boudreaux, the author of the LA Times article quoted above, points out that back in 2003 we backed a plan that would have ended all settlement activity, so this is not new. Neither is the wussing-out of American diplomacy when it comes to tiny Israel throwing a tantrum to get what it wants.
Palestinians contend that under a U.S.-backed 2003 peace plan, Israel is obliged to halt settlement growth.
President Obama called last spring for a freeze but, in the face of Israeli resistance, changed course. To the dismay of Palestinian leaders, Obama demanded only "restraint" on settlements when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas in September.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, trying to coax Palestinian leaders to restart peace talks with Israel, said Saturday that Israel was offering "unprecedented" concessions to limit the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.You know, it's one thing to say, "Well, this isn't what we hoped for, and we want to see even more progress in this area, but at least this is better than what Israel was offering before. Let's see if we can get to the peace table and then move forward." But that isn't close to what Clinton has said. No, she's fairly crowing that this is "unprecedented", and what a helluva guy Netanyahu is, and the Palestinians better just suck it up. Hardly even-handed in tone. President Abbas, who supposedly "controls" the West Bank, still gets no say in how many carpetbaggers and landgrabbers steal the places belonging to his people, more private roads for the thieves are being planned to carve up Palestinian property to exclude Palestinians and create checkpoints, and everyone dogpiles on the Goldstone Report for mentioning Israeli atrocities and spoiling their makeup even though the situation in Gaza remains a humanitarian nightmare and international goddamn shame. For some reason the Palestinians don't welcome this "concession".
Clinton's remarks moved the Obama administration closer to Israel's position and further from that of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has refused to return to negotiations without a total freeze on settlement activity on land Palestinians claim for a future state.
(BTW, you see how I re-structured the order of the Boudreaux article above? This is how most reporting is written nowadays...like a damn movie trailer, starting out with a teaser, then broken up in bits and pieces that have to be jigsawed back together to create some kind of sense. This is what the confluence of entertainlment reporting and real news has created.)