Sep 6, 2009

Obama to Netanyahu: Freeze Building and I Will Be Your Friend

Chris SchangBy Chris Schang

In a play pulled right out of the pages of "Sesame Street" US President Obama has told Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if he will freeze West Bank construction that he will be his "friend". When I read the headline and accompanying article, all I could do was roll my eyes. As many of you know, the US and international community is putting tremendous pressure on PM Netanyahu to halt construction settlement in the West Bank as this construction is considered to be a stumbling block to Middle East peace. The Israel National News is reporting:

U.S. President Barack Obama has offered Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be his friend in return for a freeze on building for Jews in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, according to editor Ben Smith. The website is a multi-million dollar Washington-based operation that focuses on the White House and Congress. The relationship between the two leaders has been termed as chilly even before they met in Washington earlier this year.
Israel PM Netanyahu has been involved in deep discussions with the US and international community about the supposed settlement issues but just the other day Netanyahu agreed to approve construction of 2,500 housing units in the West Bank area of Judea and Samaria. The US for it's part expressed "regrets" for the decision and the EU expressed disappointment. The PA for their part have stated that Middle East peace talks can't continue until all construction has been halted. The YNetNews reports:
The White House on Friday expressed "regret" regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to approve construction plans in the West Bank, just ahead of a planned signing of a deal with the US that would freeze settlement activity. "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge that it stop," said a statement by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The statement was released just a few hours after an aide to Netanyahu announced that "the prime minister plans to approve the construction of hundreds of news housing units in Judea and Samaria, before the freeze." Top Jerusalem sources also stressed that Israel would continue the construction of some 2,500 housing units in the West Bank that is already underway. But the White House statement said that "continued settlement activity is inconsistent with Israel's commitment under the Roadmap".
The Euros were on record stating:
EU foreign ministers also condemned Netanyahu's decision. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters the EU's 27 foreign ministers were all against the move. "The announcement made to build new buildings and new settlements exactly at the moment when all the international community is asking Israel for a freeze has been criticized by the ministers of foreign affairs," Frattini said after the ministers completed the first day of a two-day meeting in Stockholm. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband reiterated EU calls for a complete settlement freeze to spur the restart of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. "Our position is absolutely clear and that settlements are illegal and an impediment to peace and that obviously anything in East Jerusalem is particularly difficult," Miliband said.
One of the things for people to remember and notice in this Middle East peace process is that tremendous pressure is being placed on Israel to do this, do that, etc. while at the same time the PA has not met any of their obligations such as recognizing Israel, halting armed resistance against Israel, etc. In fact, the PA has done exactly the opposite as they have stated recently that they will never recognize Israel. Further, the Palestinians continue to fire rockets and mortars into Israel on a regular basis. All of this leads me to believe that the Palestinians are not genuine peace partners for Israel. On top of all of this the PA continues to make ridiculous demands like Jerusalem being made their capitol, so called refugees being given the "right to return", etc.

The PA and Arab League were quoted as saying:
The Arab League chief also denounced Netanyahu's decision and said any Israeli offer for a settlement freeze that doesn't include east Jerusalem is unacceptable and "will suspend the peace process." Amr Moussa spoke Friday at a conference on Italy's Lake Como. Moussa said a freeze of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians hope to make their capital, is a precondition for any meaningful talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
As we can see here from these articles the subject of Jerusalem, construction in the West Bank, etc. are becoming serious issues to the peace process. The Bible tells us that in the last days Jerusalem will become a "burdensome stone" to all those who concern themselves with it. In light of the fact that the diplomatic situation between the Israelis and Palestinians appears to be at a deadlock, the situation with the Iranian nuclear facilities continues to occupy the main focus of the Israelis. While the peace process in the Middle East appears to be the main focus of the international community it is my feeling that the Israelis are simply buying time with talks with the Palestinians as it is crystal clear to me that there is no progress at all. And there is no doubt for me that when Israel takes it upon themselves to handle Iran, whatever peace progress that was made between Israel and the Palestinians will simply be for naught as the terrorists are simply proxies for the Iranians.

Let us continue to watch the situation on the ground as it concerns the Israeli and Palestinian peace process, but let us keep our eye focused more on the situation with the Iranian nuclear program. The reason being is that several articles lately have indicated that it will not be years before Iran obtains nuclear weapons but instead it will be months. The latest date being thrown around is that by February the Iranians could have a nuclear weapon. And of course, that means the time for Israel to act is rapidly coming to an end.

Until next time, let us continue to carefully keep watching the the situation in the Middle East. There is a good chance that we could wake up one morning to hear that Israel has struck the Iranian nuclear facilities. Let us stay sober and always be watching here in these last days.

God bless.

Related Links

Analysis: Build now, freeze later: Netanyahu's preemptive 'entrance strategy' - Jerusalem Post
Settlement deal set to focus on the West Bank - The Guardian
Abbas rejects Netanyahu talks if settlements grow -
Mossad staged Russian ship hijacking - Jerusalem Post
Isralestine: The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East - Bill Salus (Book)