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Reprinted from IsraPundit.com.
Before forming the present government PM Netanyahu stood for the following:
- – no two state solution
- no Shalit trade as was then being negotiated
- no construction freeze and
- no presentation of an Israeli plan for its borders
Since taking office he violated all these supposed red lines. He gave a speech in which he accepted “two states for two peoples”. He made the Shalit trade he previously had opposed. He imposed a 10 month freeze for nothing in return and in many ways imposed a de facto freeze.
And now, it appears he has agreed to present, “comprehensive proposals” for resolving key aspects of conflict within three months.
By agreeing to this and not rejecting the peace process, Israel is accepting negotiations which aim to bridge the gap. Netanyahu has thus crossed another red line.
Netanyahu inherited the Shalit negotiations and once complained that he was dealt a lousy hand as though he couldn’t have started all over again. Similarly, he is not prepared to start all over again on peace negotiations and is prepared to play with the hand he was dealt. It too is a lousy hand.
By Netanyahu formally agreeing to present such proposals, he confirms that he is following Olmert and Barak. This is something Bibi has repeatedly said he would not do just as he has always said he is against the Shalit deal.
This goes way beyond playing rope-a-dope to buy time. This shows a seriousness about negotiations and an intention to really negotiate along the dictates of Obama and his proxy, the Quartet.
Netanyahu has to ask for more than he expects to get, yet on the other hand, if he asks for too much the Quartet will say he is not serious and penalize him/Israel for it. Not for a moment, do I believe that this was his idea or that he willingly went along.
The article Knesset visitor blasts Obama and Netanyahu advises that MK Eldad accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of buckling under intense pressure from President Barack Obama, who wants to prevent any Israeli retaliation against the Palestinian Authority in its bid to win recognition as a state from the United Nations.
- He (Eldad) charged that Obama was holding Netanyahu “at gunpoint” – the gun being the U.S. threat to go back on its promise to veto the Palestinian statehood bid in the UN Security Council.Specifically, Obama has demanded that Netanyahu and Israel’s supporters in the United States pressure Congress to abort two pending resolutions to penalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it pursues its bid, Eldad claimed.One would shut off U.S. aid funds to the Palestinians and a second would support Israel’s right to annex the West Bank. The legal justification for such actions, cited by many Israeli officials, would be that the unilateral statehood request would be a direct violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The inescapable conclusion is that Bibi felt he had no choice but to agree with the Quartet’s new Plan in which they proposed that the parties meet for a month and then prepare proposals within the following three months. To my mind the Quartet would not have come out with their plan, at that time, had not Bibi agreed to it.
The Palestinian request for recognition is still with the UNSC and will not be voted on or vetoed until Bibi presents his plan. So Eldad was 100 % correct.
Diplomacy being what it is, the Quartet will do its utmost to get Bibi to better Olmert’s offer. Abbas had offered to allow Israel to keep much less land. Abbas wanted to keep Ariel and much of east Jerusalem including Maaleh Adumin. When Netanyahu formed his government he made it clear that in no way would he match Olmert’s offer. I don’t see how he can avoid it.
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