Netanyahu Tries to Get Cabinet to OK Extended Construction Freeze
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
According to the latest reports coming out of the Middle East, it appears that Israeli PM Netanyahu is trying to drum up support for an extended two month construction freeze in the West Bank in order to appease the world demands to do something to keep direct talks with the Palestinians in motion. Right now the Arab League is set to meet and vote on Friday about whether or not to support the Palestinian's continued peace talks with the Israelis. The Palestinians for their part have basically walked away from the talks but are seeking the umbrella coverage of the Arab League as a way to deflect pressure from the Obama administration as well as the rest of the world. The Israelis for their part have continued construction despite the rumors that Netanyahu is working behind the scenes to get a Cabinet approval for an extended freeze. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been sounding out key cabinet members on extending a freeze on new construction in West Bank settlements in hopes of keeping peace talks with the Palestinians alive, but he is encountering stiff resistance, Israeli officials said Wednesday.
In Ramallah, key members of the Palestinian leadership — in an increasingly tense waiting mode — expressed optimism that an extension nonetheless was imminent.
Israel's normally talkative leadership has been almost completely silent in recent days as Netanyahu wrestled with what appeared to be significant US pressure to agree to some sort of extension of the construction slowdown — which was in effect 10 months and expired on Sept. 26, just weeks after the resumption of peace talks.
The Palestinians have threatened to walk out of the talks if Israel refuses to reinstate it — and another deadline of sorts has emerged with Friday's planned summit of the 22-nation Arab League, where the Palestinians expect support for whatever they decide. US Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, has been shuttling between the sides in an effort to find a magic formula — sparking a variety of contradictory media reports about sweeteners the United States is prepared to offer Netanyahu if he reverses his promises to hard-line backers that the slowdown would not be renewed.
"There are ongoing efforts to ensure the continuation of the direct peace talks," said an Israeli official. Another Israeli official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because Netanyahu has ordered a media blackout, said the premier was sounding out colleagues on a proposal to extend the slowdown for two months. Four of the seven ministers were opposed, the official said. Netanyahu's own position was not clear. The Israelis are seeking various "assurances" in return for the extension. Israeli officials also said Netanyahu has sent indirect messages to the Arab League asking for a postponement of its vote this weekend to give him more time to work out a deal.
The Israelis have apparently been offered some "incentives" for continuing the construction freeze in the West Bank. Among those "sweeteners" are the promise not to demand a further freeze in the future, the promise to sell Israel advanced military equipment, and the promise that the U.S. would veto any resolutions aimed at Israel in the future. Earlier in the week the U.S. denied making these "sweeteners" to Israel, as it was reported that there was only a "demand" that Israel extend the freeze which the Israelis rebuked by continuing construction in the West Bank.
The overall picture of an extended freeze does not appear to be a good one. It appears that the Obama administration is trying hard to make a deal in time for critical U.S. mid-term elections that are coming up at the first of November. These elections will go a long way in determining which way the U.S. will go in the future. Right now it is not looking good for U.S. President Obama as polls have showed that the Republicans could take at least one legislative body or even both should voter anger spill over at the voting booth. This voter anger over the stalled economy, failure of Obama to deliver on his promises, etc. have caused him to recently record the lost approval ratings of his short administration. There is much chatter and talk about Obama being a one term president. If America is to right her ship, this definitely needs to happen. The U.S. simply can't afford eight years of Obama's rule. He is slowly but surely dragging the country down to it's lowest level ever.
Another reason that is being cited for an extended freeze is so that time can be given for final borders of a future Palestinian state can be created. This issue has caused Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman to warn earlier in the week that the U.S. and world community would try to "force" a deal on Israel after the mid-term elections should Obama and the Democrats prevail. This forced solution would be one where the Israelis would be forced to either accept or decline the deal. A decline of the deal would put tremendous pressure on Israel and likely to start increased hostilities toward them from the surrounding Islamic countries. Lieberman warned not to extend the freeze and to stand firm against the continued attempt to deligitimize Israel that is currently being promoted by the Palestinians.
In a superb opinion piece in the YNetNews it is being reported that the real problem in the Middle East is not the settlement issue, but the continued Palestinian rejection of striking a deal with the Israelis. The YNetNews article goes on to report:
Here Obama goes again, asking Israel to extend a settlement construction freeze in the West Bank for another two months while demanding nothing from the Arabs. Two months seems an arbitrary number unless you remember the upcoming November elections.
It seems that Obama does not want to have another public confrontation with the Jewish state, till after the November elections, in order not to upset Jewish voters. Meanwhile, he is trying to temporarily appease and convince the Palestinians to stay in the negotiations until after the elections, when he will again start pressuring Israel for even more concessions.
Otherwise, how do you explain the fact that the US president is adopting the Palestinian point of view and recycling a mostly mythical controversy that settlements are the major obstacle to negotiations and peace in the Middle East? Those who believe this farce never visited the West bank as I have done, or they would realize that the settlements are physically a negligible issue and a cover-up and excuse for Arab Palestinian rejectionism.
The claim that settlement activity is an obstacle to peace because it will supposedly diminish the territory of a future Palestinian entity is baseless.
The truth of the matter is that:
The amount of territory taken up by the built-up area of all 121 settlements in the West Bank, with approximately 290,000 residents, is estimated to be just 1.7% of the territory. Two thirds of the settlers reside in five major blocs, and half of the settlements have 500 or less settlers. Four of the blocks are very close to the 1949 armistice line (“Green Line”) and many of them are suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Ninety eight percent of the Palestinian population lives within roughly 40% of the West Bank, in six major cities and 450 villages. Consequently, 60% of the West Bank is empty of any buildup. You can drive for a long while in the West Bank and find no Jewish settlements or Arab cities, or people. Moreover, the settlements are a major source of jobs and income for the Palestinians.
Despite the fact that the Palestinians have twice in history refused to accept a peace deal and might we add never gave a counter-offer, shows that the continued plan of rejecting any and all peace plans is the ultimate goal of the Palestinians. The idea for them is to try to get as much as they can from Israel in talks before launching another war of annihilation to rid the Middle East of Israel. No matter how many freezes their are, until Israel has a true peace partner, peace will remain elusive. The Palestinians must decide that they want true peace with Israel, but as we've noted many times before that the religion of Islam does not allow for Israel to exist. So this is why the fanatical terrorist regimes will continue to exist until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and rules the world with an iron rod. Only then will true and genuine peace be possible. Until then, it is likely that the Middle East peace talks shell game will continue on until the Palestinians get frustrated enough to walk away from the peace talks and resume their war with the Israelis. At that point, Bible prophecy watchers will look for the fulfillments of Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, and eventually Ezekiel 38-39 when the Lord will defeat the enemies of Israel, thus giving rise to the future Antichrist.
I'd like to ask that folks continue to pray for Israel, her leaders, and surely for the peace of Jerusalem. Israeli PM Netanyahu continues to face tremendous pressure from the world as well as the Islamics in the Middle East to make deal that will lead to the destruction of Israel. While this will never happen as the Lord has promised that once he gathers the Jews back into their ancient homeland a second time, he will never let them be scattered among the world again. We can count on that promise. Stay tuned!