Some thoughts about the settlement freeze:
- It’s 100% clear that the freeze will not cause the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ‘come to the table’. They have already said that it is insufficient because it doesn’t include Jerusalem, doesn’t include construction already under way, etc.
- However, once the principle is accepted that Israeli concessions without reciprocity from the Palestinians or other Arab nations are appropriate, pressure will increase for Israel to take the next step, and the next…
- I don’t know if Obama Administration officials realized the degree and depth of opposition that Israel’s government would face from residents of Judea and Samaria. If they did, the imposition of the pointless freeze is a deliberate attempt to produce civil strife within the state of Israel — an act of aggression as blatant and more dangerous than a Qassam rocket. If they didn’t understand, why didn’t Netanyahu tell them?
- If the freeze won’t bring negotiations closer — and anyway we know negotiations with the hard-line PA today would be fruitless — and it will create strife in Israel, is there any good it could do? Only improve the administration’s image in the Arab world. But even this won’t happen, because the Arabs see the ‘incomplete’ freeze as Obama being soft on Israel.
- As I have written before, Judea and Samaria are not ‘Palestinian land’. They are at most ‘disputed territory’. So a building freeze that affects Jews and not Arabs is discriminatory.
- The Roadmap calls for a settlement freeze as part of Phase I. It also calls for the Palestinians to stop incitement of hatred and terrorism against Israel, and for them to “[begin] sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.” Only after Phase I is complete can there be movement to Phases II and III. Perhaps it’s time to ask why the PA hasn’t met its responsibilities?
- The justification for the freeze is that construction in the territories ‘prejudges’ the final outcome. But the freeze suggests an acceptance of the Palestinian demand for “every centimeter” of the area occupied by Jordan in 1949, something that even the Obama administration has opposed.