Barbed wire rings the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit on the West Bank.
Although the U.S. never has been a neutral arbiter in the Middle East, it’s still surprising that Washington has now reportedly promised Israel a long-term security agreement—including 20 F-35 fighter jets and a pledge to veto any damaging U.N. resolution—in exchange for a 90-day extension of the Israeli freeze on constructing settlements in the West Bank.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just agreed to freeze “most construction” in the occupied West Bank for 90 days in order to break an impasse in peace talks.
One can only guess at the magnitude of collective uproar that would result if a similar deal was offered to the Palestinian Authority. Just sayin’. —JCL
A US proposal offering security and diplomatic incentives to Israel in exchange for a renewal of a freeze on the building of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank drew an angry response from several senior Israeli ministers at a cabinet meeting today. Four cabinet members from the rightwing Likud party opposed Washington’s initiative to resume peace talks, in what Israeli media described as heated discussions.
The Palestinian authority also said today that it had not been informed . “We haven’t heard anything official from the Americans,” said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. “We are waiting for them to contact us.”
The US has reportedly offered Israel a long-term security agreement, which includes the delivery of 20 F-35 fighter jets worth $3bn (£1.9bn). Washington also vowed to veto any UN security council resolution that could be damaging for Israel.