I hope this is true, but considering the story comes from the anti-Netanyahu, far-left Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, I’m not so sure.
HAARETZ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to the United States this week damaged Israel diplomatically, undermined the country’s relations with the U.S. administration and showed Netanyahu up again as a rejectionist who does nothing but look for excuses and delays to avoid making decisions.
Netanyahu flew to the annual conference of the United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans; from there he went on to New York. Strengthening ties with Diaspora Jewry is certainly a worthy cause, but Netanyahu took advantage of the stage he was given to embarrass the Obama administration.
His public call on the Americans to create a “credible military threat” against Iran merely exposed the disagreements between him and the administration, portraying Israel as a warmonger trying to drag America into another entanglement in the Middle East. No wonder Netanyahu’s declaration evoked a dismissive response from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Netanyahu focused on issuing warnings about Iran and the “delegitimization” of Israel, pushing the peace process with the Palestinians to the sidelines. His messages sounded coordinated with the scandalous speech by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the UN General Assembly. (Not scandalous, the kind of speech Netanyahu should make)
Then came the reports about Israel’s approval of large construction plans in Har Homa and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods. Netanyahu again found himself in a public controversy with U.S. President Barack Obama and insulted Vice President Joe Biden, shortly after Biden had praised him enthusiastically in a speech.
Toward the end of the visit, Netanyahu hinted he would agree to an additional construction freeze in the settlements, but in exchange for some far-reaching demands. He wants extensive American security assistance and all the Arab states (apart from Saudi Arabia ) to sign peace agreements with Israel at the same time as the Palestinians.
THIS JUST IN: Netanyahu caves…AGAIN!
DEBKAThe package Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accepted for US-sponsored talks with the Palestinians contains more substantial concessions than merely a freeze on settlement construction and goes far beyond the one-year deal put before the security cabinet Saturday night, Nov. 13, DEBKAfile reports from Jerusalem and Washington. The deal unveiled in Jerusalem early Sunday is only stage one of a larger secret package to which only Netanyahu and his close adviser Yithzak Molho are privy – not even Defense Minister Ehud Barak or the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi.
This package has been in secret negotiation for several weeks in the Jordanian capital Amman – and possibly European venues – between American, Israeli, Palestinian, Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian representatives. According to US and Saudi sources, Israel has made four major concessions that will go into force if and when peace is signed with the Palestinians.
Under the deal concluded with the United States – as reported to the Security Cabinet Saturday night – Israel has accepted a second three-month moratorium on West Bank settlement construction including starts made after the expiry of the first 10-month freeze on Sept. 26. It will not apply to Jerusalem. No third moratorium will be requested.
In return, the United States agreed that in the next 12 months -
1. To request congressional approval for the sale of 20 F-35 stealth warplanes worth $3 billion in addition to the 20 already allocated.
2. To follow an Israel-Palestinian peace accord, if it is concluded, by signing a mutual defense treaty with Israel, negotiations for which to begin in the coming weeks.
3. To veto any anti-Israeli motions put forward at the UN Security Council or other international bodies on four subjects:
— Initiatives for imposing political solutions on Israel;
— Any unilateral Palestinian bid to establish an independent state;
— All acts aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy;
— Any attempt to use the Security Council to deny Israel’s right to self-defense.
While the prime minister presented this deal to the security cabinet ministers as a draft still under discussion, DEBKAfile’s sources report that it was finalized with Washington and the negotiations have raced beyond that point and gone a lot deeper into the substance of a peace accord with the Palestinians in the secret round table under the American aegis to which Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been co-opted.
A. The presence of foreign, namely Jordanian, troops in the Jordan Valley in a deployment that would satisfy Israel’s security requirements and provide a barrier against the smuggling of missiles, other munitions and fighters into the West Bank when it comes under independent Palestinian rule.
Since 1967, every Israeli government since the 1967 War has stipulated that any peace accord must leave this strip with Israel as its security border to the east. Netanyahu has accepted in principle that the Hashemite Kingdom, for the first time since the Jordanian Army withdrew from the West Bank 43 years ago, would regain a military presence on the both the West and East Banks of the River Jordan.
B. The Jordanian military’s functions along the Jordan River and on West Bank soil would be governed by agreed rules of conduct. Those rules would extend to other parts of the West Bank where the deployment of foreign forces is under negotiation.
C. The Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley would remain in place and continue to develop – on the understanding that after several decades, 30-50 years, their disposal would be renegotiated with the possible option of passing the area to the Palestinian state. This item is still open to discussion.
D. Israeli Defense Forces positions remaining there for now would be gradually reduced in size and number.
E. The above provisions would go into effect only after an independent Palestinian state is established.
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources add that these secret talks have hit a sticking point: The United States and Israel propose that the final borders of a Palestinian state be based on the pre-1967 War boundaries with adjustments dictated by Israel’s security requirements and the demographic changes that have taken place in the territory since then – the main settlement blocs will be part of Israel. The Palestinians stipulate that their state precisely follow the 1967 borders without changes.
It is important to note that the widespread reports of a crisis in US-Israel relations during Netanyahu’s five-day American trip were unfounded.
On the other hand, House Republicans can and should block the constant flow of bailouts of corrupt Palestinian governments.
Israel Matzav On Thursday, in a retort to Israel’s announcement of new construction in Jerusalem earlier in the week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a$150 million bailout to the ‘Palestinian Authority’ to close their ‘budget gap’ for the remainder of the year. But if Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen gets her way, the ‘Palestinians’ won’t get that $150 million. And they won’t get any other American aid money either until they clean up their act and start fighting terror and corruption.
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican who stands to take over [the Chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee] in January after her party won the House of Representatives, said she was deeply concerned over what she called the bailout of the Palestinian leadership, which she claims has failed to live up to its commitment to dismantle the Palestinian terror infrastructure, eradicate corruption and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
“Sending US tax dollars to the Palestinian Authority to help them cover their budget shortfall is a bailout, plain and simple,” she said.
“It is deeply disturbing that the Administration is continuing to bail out the Palestinian leadership when they continue to fail to meet their commitments, under international agreements and requirements outlined in US law, including dismantling the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, combating corruption, stopping anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement, and recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American from Florida, said that as long as the Palestinian leaders receive unconditional aid they have no reason to change their ways and be committed to peace. “So long as Palestinian leaders keep being financially rewarded by the U.S. unconditionally, they will have zero reason to change their ways and truly commit to peace. It is long past time to hold Ramallah accountable,” she said.
She stressed that funds are continuing to flow into Ramallah despite reports indicating that corruption among the Palestinian leadership is increasing.
SINKING THE GAZA 54
Here’s what happened to the original “Gaza 54″, those 54 Democratic congressmen who signed the letter asking President Obama to pressure Israel to relax security measures around Hamas-ruled Gaza:
Five resigned, retired, or lost in a primary: Brian Baird (WA-3), Bill Delahunt (MA-10), Eric Massa (NY-29), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI-13), Diane E. Watson (CA-33). Four have lost re-election to a Republican: Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), Glenn Nye (VA-2), Jim Oberstar (MI-8), and Joe Sestak (who left his House seat, PA-7) to run for Senate.
The Gaza 54 of the 111th Congress will number 45 in the 112th Congress.
The 45 “Gaza 54″ DEMOCRAT signatories who remain in the 112th Congress are:
1. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D, WI-2)
2. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03)
3. Rep. Bruce Braley (D, IA-1)
4. Rep. Michael Capuano (D, MA-8)
5. Rep. Lois Capps (D, CA-23)
6. Rep. Andre Carson (D, IN-07)
7. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D, NY-11)
8. Rep. John Conyers (D, MI-14)
9. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D, MD-7)
10. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D, OR-4)
11. Rep. John Dingell (D, MI-15)
12. Rep. Donna Edwards (D, MD-04)
13. Rep. Keith (MUSLIM) Ellison (D, MN-5)
14. Rep. Sam Farr (D, CA-17)
15. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D, PA-2)
16. Rep. Bob Filner (D, CA-51)
17. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D, AZ-7)
18. Rep. Jim Himes (D, CT-4)
19. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D, NY-22)
20. Rep. Rush Holt (D, NJ-12)
21. Rep. Mike Honda (D, CA-15)
22. Rep. Jay Inslee (D, WA-1)
23. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, OH-9)
24. Rep. Barbara Lee (D, CA-9)
25. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D, MA-9)
26. Rep. Betty McCollum (D, MN-4)
27. Rep. Jim McDermott (D, WA-7)
28. Rep. Jim McGovern (D, MA-3)
29. Rep. George Miller (D, CA-7)
30. Rep. Jim Moran (D, VA-8)
31. Rep. Gwen Moore (D, WI-4)
32. Rep. John Olver (D, MA-1)
33. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D, NJ-8)
34. Rep. Donald Payne (D, NJ-10)
35. Rep. David Price (D, NC-4)
36. Rep. Nick Rahall (D, WV-3)
37. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D, CA-47)
38. Rep. Adam Smith (D, WA-9)
39. Rep. Jackie Speier (D, CA-12)
40. Rep. Pete Stark (D, CA-13)
41. Rep. John Tierney (D, MA-06)
42. Rep. Paul Tonko (D, NY-21)
43. Rep. Peter Welch (D, VT-At Large)
44. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D, CA-6)
45. Rep. John Yarmuth (D, KY-3)