No real settlement freeze...
For twenty odd years I believed that the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories were essentially bargaining chips and that Israel would eventually 'make good' on the Palestinian question. But around the time of the Gaza offensive I began to realise I had been fooling myself: the sheer scale and numbers of the settlements operation strongly point to Israel playing for keeps. The recent Israeli reaction to the first mild pressure applied from Washington in about a decade also speaks volumes to that effect.
Does anybody still realistically believe that Israel is serious about withdrawal its settlers? Sorry, but I can't. And with each passing day I feel sadly more vindicated (as well as embarrassed about my previously held position):
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a complete halt of Jewish settlements will not happen, according to a parliament source.
Netanyahu said at a closed-door Knesset committee meeting that Israel would agree only to a partial reduction of housing construction and for a limited time, not the year the United States would like, said a government official who was not authorized to speak about the meeting and did not want to be identified.
Netanyahu said no agreement had been reached on the length of time for the building hiatus, the source told CNN. Netanyahu has said in the past that a moratorium would not apply to East Jerusalem, which Israel claims as part of its sovereign capital since taking the territory away from Jordan during the Six Day War in 1967. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.