Israeli minister: US building freeze offer is a trap

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau on Tuesday warned that the proposal whereby the Obama Administration will provide Israel with various gifts and assistance in exchange for another Jewish building freeze is a trick, just as most previous American diplomatic promises have been phony.

Speaking to Voice of Israel Radio, Landau decried the fact that the proposal is being misrepresented in the Israeli media, and even to most Israeli lawmakers.

According to the publicized version of the proposal, Israel will impose a 90-day Jewish building freeze in Judea and Samaria (excluding eastern Jerusalem) in order to facilitate a resumption of direct peace talks with the Palestinians. In return, Israel will receive American support at the UN, more recognition of its security demands, and 20 F-35 fighter jets.

Most Israelis are erroneously led to believe that they are going to score a major diplomatic victory and some free military hardware just for making a small, temporary gesture, explained Landau.

“We must see the structure of the deal – and you see that the Americans are demanding that we come to a full agreement with the PA in order for the benefits to kick in,” Landau continued. “You only get the benefits in the event of a final-status agreement – only when everything is over.”

Since the Palestinians have already rejected the temporary and limited nature of the building freeze, there is almost no chance that Israel will be provided the promised benefits for making the gesture.

Instead, just as in the past, Landau said Israel will find itself betrayed.

“Israel has failed to learn from the past,” he lamented. “President Obama is ignoring previous promises that President Bush presented to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Those promises, too, were portrayed as a great diplomatic achievement.”

The Bush-Sharon letter ostensibly provided US recognition that Israel would retain large Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria even as part of a final status peace deal. It is now not worth the paper it was written on.

Landau noted that Israel got no credit for its recently expired self-imposed 10-month building freeze, so why should anyone believe the US government will change it’s tune this time around?

“Instead of asking the Palestinians to make similar ‘gestures,’ the US comes back to us,” said Landau, concluding that concessions ultimately just lead to more concessions as Israel presents itself to its enemies and opportunistic foreign power-brokers as pliable and irresolute.

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