After more deadlocked talks, White House expresses ‘concerns’ with settlement building

Amid reports denied by Netanyahu that Trump wants a freeze at isolated settlements, Israel says it intends to adopt a policy that takes US stance ‘into consideration’

BY ERIC CORTELLESSA, TOI

View of the Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumin, in the West Bank on January 4, 2017. (Yaniv Nadav/Flash90)

View of the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumin, in the West Bank on January 4, 2017. (Yaniv Nadav/Flash90)

WASHINGTON — After four days of high-level discussions between the Trump administration and an Israeli delegation, which concluded Thursday, no agreement has been forged regarding Israel’s ongoing settlement construction, an issue that concerns US President Donald Trump, the Trump administration indicated Thursday evening.

“The United States delegation reiterated President Trump’s concerns regarding settlement activity in the context of moving towards a peace agreement,” according to a joint readout of the talks. “The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel’s intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration.”

The two sides said they will continue to engage in dialogue over Israel’s continued building in disputed areas of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. They described the discussions as “serious and constructive, and they are ongoing.”

Trump publicly asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February to “hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

The series of meetings in Washington this past week followed Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt’s trip to the region last week, in which he met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to try and jumpstart peace talks.
Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Monday, March 13, 2017. (Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Monday, March 13, 2017. (Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

In those talks in Jerusalem, Greenblatt reportedly demanded that Israel halt all construction in isolated West Bank settlements and put curbs on new building inside the major settlement blocs, but Netanyahu was said to have rejected the idea. An official in the Israeli prime minister’s office on Thursday denied that any such terms had been advanced by Greenblatt.

Greenblatt led the US delegation to this week’s follow-up talks along with other representatives of the National Security Council staff and State Department, including Michael Ratney. The Israeli delegation was led by Yoav Horowitz, Netanyahu’s chief of staff, and Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.

Other topics of discussion included boosting the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and reconstruction of vital infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

“A principal focus of the discussions was specific measures that could have a meaningful impact on the economic environment in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing the Palestinians to more fully realize their economic potential,” the read out said.

“The Israelis welcomed United States interest in continuing to play a facilitating role in advancing issues regarding electricity and water in ways that will benefit both Israel and the Palestinians and also move the Palestinians toward self-sustainability in these crucial areas.”

Quality of life issues for Palestinians have long been a priority in a US policy geared toward creating the conditions for a peace agreement.

Both sides concluded their latest round of talks by emphasizing they had a “particular focus” on “concrete, near-term measures to improve the overall climate in order to advance the prospects for a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

There is no immediate word on a date for resuming the US-Israel talks.

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. Dean Blake

    Don’t pay attention to that man behind the gold curtain, he can’t get anything done in Congress and he’s gutted the State Department. If there were ever a time to ‘sprint to the goal line’ now’s the time to do it while State Dept is in disarray. If Israel acts in its best interests, Trump would have to concede to State, which he does not want to do. Go for it Israel!!!!

  2. MELECH david

    enough of this bloody foolishness. enact L o N Mandate inc a claim on E. Israel enact u n charter article 80 then argue. remind u s of 1922 recognition of mandate.
    the monkey is still being led by the blind dog.

  3. watsa46

    At the end of time, the IL Sunnis will reject any solution that guarantee the safety and security of IL!

  4. Abolish_public_education

    Other topics of discussion included …

    How to make the Israeli government bigger.

  5. MELECH david

    How tincrease the gov party? or more seats than the current 120. most countries have more reps as the population grows.
    but then which other idiots vote for a party (other than frat houses) without being sure who will represent themo make the Israeli government bigger
    do you mean .

  6. Free Israel from Arab/Muslim terror and Arab occupiers.

    It is the Arab Conflict, not Israel. The Arabs want what Israel has; which they built with blood sweat and tears; well they cannot have it.
    Israel is on its own historical territory of over 3,800 years, that with hard work and toil have turned the desert into green pastures with a first class technology and innovation that is helping all the people and nations in the world. The Arabs have over 12 million sq. km. of which 70% is vacant with a wealth of oil reserves and they also have Jordan which is Jewish territory.

    Israel is a sovereign country which also serves as a land based Super-Large Aircraft carrier for the U.S. (with no risk to U.S. personnel) with much more amenities and a sophisticated intelligence apparatus. Israel is one of the worlds leading countries in sophisticated and innovative weapons technology and development of which the U.S. benefits greatly. Furthermore, it is Israel’s Medical innovation and other technology which the whole world benefits from.

    President Donald Trump. Are you willing to help set-up and approve a terrorist Arab State in the United State? Your actions and deeds show you do not! Why would you want Israel to permit an Arab terrorist State in Judea and Samaria? Just see the results of giving the Arabs control of Gaza, which is now a terrorist entity that launches thousands of rockets at Israel and threatens its safety and security.
    No sane leader or government would permit such a move or it will be replaced.

    As long as world countries and leaders contribute money and support to the Arabs who promote hate and commit terror and violence, the terror hate and violence will continue.
    As long as you treat Mahmmoud Abbas as a leader and not as a terrorist criminal (who has a murder conviction and an escapee from justice) who promotes and incites hate, violence and terror, the violence and terror will continue. Stop deluding yourselves that these Arabs are anything but terrorists who seek to destroy Israel and anyone who is not like them.

    Mahmmoud Abbas and his Arab Palestinian authority are a terrorist entity and anyone who condones them is supporting terror and violence. Mahmmoud Abbas is a convicted murderer who is an escaped convict and belongs in Jail. Stop patronizing Abbas and start applying what he deserves, to be put in jail. He gladly admitted for sponsoring the Munich massacre and other terror acts. Abbas is playing the peace game as long as he can milk the nations of the world for billions of dollars and running a dictatorial terrorist entity.
    The Arab PA is no different than Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    There never was and will never be a second Arab-Palestinian State West of the Jordan River; they have Jordan which is Jewish territory.

    Anyone who thinks about putting another terrorist entity in Judea and Samaria aka West Bank, needs to have his head examined, this type of thinking is an insidious delusion and any government considering such a proposal must be replaced. Such a move is suicidal to Israel especially in view of the results from Gaza, with thousands of rockets attacking Israel. Judea and Samaria is Jewish territory no concession of this territory is permitted. Israel is a sovereign country and Israel does not need anybody’s consent to apply its sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. Israel must expedite building housing, industry and roads in Judea and Samaria. No country has the right to interfere and or dictate to Israel how to conduct its internal affairs and or its safety and security.
    Let the Arab-Palestinians in Judea and Samaria relocate to Jordan or the homes and territory of over 120,000 sq. km the Arab countries confiscated from the over a million Jewish families they terrorized and expelled from the Arab countries.
    The Arab-Palestinian Authority with its leader Mahmmoud Abbas the convicted murderer is a terrorist organization, just like Hamas and Hezbollah.
    YJ Draiman

  7. Abolish_public_education

    @ MELECH david:
    The idea reportedly discussed, that of boosting the local-Arab economy (e.g. by public works projects), if actually turned into governing policy, would involve MORE Israeli government spending.

    Bigger government.

    The “correct” number of representatives is an issue for another day. For my taste, the ratio should not be greater than 10,000 to 1.

  8. Bear Klein

    Just Build and Build some more.

    Israel needs act like a sovereign state.

    Israel is not the 51st State and even then Trump can not tell Californians where to build or not to build. Why the hell should any foreign even if well meaning have the right to tell Israel where not to build?

  9. Sebastien Zorn

    “Many times I have spoken of the Talmudic parable of the king, his servant, and the fish. Never was it more apt.’

    ‘Once there was a king who sent his servant to buy a fish. The servant returned with a fish that stank. In fury the king gave the servant a choice of three punishments: “Eat the fish, get whipped for the fish, or pay for the fish.” In common with most people, the servant chose not to reach into his pocket and he decided to eat the stinking fish but after two bites the stench made him give up and he decided to get whipped for it. The pain of the lashes, however, made him stop that, too, and he cried out, “I will pay for the fish!”

    ‘And so the fool ate the fish, got whipped for the fish and, in the end, had to pay for it, anyhow. Those in Israel and without, who refuse to understand that nothing will deter America from demanding that Israel make the maximum concessions, play the same fool. Those who do not understand that there is nothing that Israel can possible do, that there are no compromises it can make, that there is nothing short of full retreat to the 1967 borders that will satisfy the United States-are the same fools as the servant who ate, got whipped and in the end had to pay anyhow.’

    ‘Their refusal to make the difficult choice of telling the Americans “no”, now, at this moment, will see them making the retreats they hope will avert American anger; it will see this effort fail even as the frontier moves from its present lines within the Arab heartland to new ones close to the Jewish cities; and most important, the Americans will make the same demands they always have envisioned since the days of the Roger Plan-total Israeli withdrawal. And since this is a thing that not even the most dovish of Israelis will agree to, the result will be an ultimate Israeli firm “no”, an ultimate American anger of the kind all men of “new initiative” propose to avert today by compromise, and exactly the same conditions of confrontation that would come anyhow if the Israelis said their “no” today. There would be one great difference, however, a “no” today will bring the crisis while Israel stands poised near the Arab capitols. A “no” tomorrow, after all the hapless and confused compromises and “initiatives,” will bring the same crisis near Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Netanya.’

    ‘This is what happens when foolish and confused Israelis, by refusing to pay the price of saying “no” to the stinking fish of pressure, attempt to eat it, submit to getting beaten over it and then learn to their dismay that there is no escape from the difficult decision that they should have made in the first place.’

    ‘Let the Israeli government, its men of “new initiative” and the Jewish leaders in America understand several basic axioms:

    1) America is committed to the Roger Plan and the world’s interpretation
    of Security Council Resolution 242, i.e. Israeli withdrawal from all (but insignificant) parts of the lands of 1967. This includes the Golan Heights, Gaza, the entire West bank and the entire Sinai as well as changing Jerusalem’s present Jewish sovereignty status.

    2) American interests lie, in the minds of most officials in Washington, with
    Arab oil, the huge potential Arab market and with supplanting Soviet influence with American. This means, at best, an “even-handed” policy rather than a pro-Israeli one.

    3) America is moving steadily to recognition of the “Palestinians” as a people and of whomever they decide to have as their leaders. Those leaders are clearly the PLO and already the move to “moderate” the PLO, “public-relations-wise” is underway so that Washington can more easily pressure Israel into recognizing them.

    4) The Ford-Kissinger administration is determined to prevent stagnation and will pressure Israel into concession after concession.

    5) No administration will go to war for Israel and no administration will continue the present aid level no matter what Israel does or concedes. The frantic search for human allies will end as unsuccessfully as those Jews in the past who forgot what faith in the Jewish G-d was and who turned to Egypt or Assyria or other “allies” for help, only to learn to their dismay that their allies betrayed them.’

    ‘Stinking fish are not made to be eaten or to get whipped or. One must have the courage to look at the truth and pay the bitter price of honesty. America is tired of the Israeli nuisance and wishes it would eat the fish already. The time to loudly proclaim “no” is now.

    “Israel, US and the Stinking Fish”
    Rabbi Meir Kahane. 1976.

    http://barbaraginsberg-kahane.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html

    “PEACE AT LAST: PALESTINE IN 2013
    After Israel gave the Palestinians everything they wanted, the newly formed Palestinian government just wanted a few more things.
    May 3, 2011 by Steven Plaut

    It was in the year 2013. The Israelis at long last gave up their attempts to resist the pressures of the world. Their newly elected national unity government approved the plan. The Palestinians, led by a coalition of the PLO and the Hamas, had already earlier announced the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel’s Left had been holding weekly protests in support of Palestinian statehood. When the UN had officially and unanimously called for such a state, even the United States of Barack Obama voted in favor.The national unity government of Israel announced that Israel was willing to accept the unanimous UN proposal for peace, supported by every single country in the world. Israel would return to its pre-1967 borders, remove all Jewish settlements from the territories of the new state of Palestine, recognize Palestine, and grant Palestine all of East Jerusalem, that is, all of the city located east of a line running north-south through Zion Square, renamed Martyrs’ Square.

    The world had not seen celebrations like this, celebrations that greeted the Israeli decision and the creation of Palestine, since the fall of the Berlin Wall or the transfer of power in South Africa to the black majority. All-night celebrations were held in every city of the planet, but none so enthusiastic as the party held in Tel Aviv in Rabin Square. Speaker after speaker appeared under a banner “Liberation at Last” and praised the decision to agree to the terms of the accord as the ultimate completion of the work and dreams of Yitzhak Rabin.

    The settlers were marched out of the lands of Palestine at bayonet point, with crowds of jeering Israeli leftists pelting them with garbage as they moved into their temporary transit camps inside Green-Line Israel. Liberal Jews in the United States organized a march in Washington to celebrate. “Peace at Last” was the number one pop single everywhere.

    The State Department sent out a message urging Israel and Palestine to conduct good-faith negotiations and round-the-clock talks on all outstanding issues of disagreement still separating the two sovereign states. At long last, there were two states for two peoples. Land had been exchanged for peace. Peace had at long last broken out in the world´s most troubled region.

    The morning after the Palestine Independence Celebrations, the message arrived in the Israeli parliament, brought in by special messenger. The newly formed government of Palestine had only a small number of issues it would like to discuss with Israel. It proposed that peaceful relations be officially consummated, as soon as Israel turned over the Galilee and the Negev to Palestine.

    Israeli cabinet ministers were nonplussed. We thought we had already settled all outstanding territorial issues by giving the Palestinians everything, they protested. The spokesman for the Palestine War Ministry explained: the Galilee was obviously part of the Arab homeland. It was filled with many Arabs and in many areas had an Arab population majority. Israel was holding 100% of the Galilee territory, while Palestine held none at all, and surely that was unfair. As for the Negev, it too has large areas with Arab or Bedouin majorities, but is in fact also needed by the Palestinians so that Palestine can settle the many Palestinian refugees from around the world in lands and new homes.

    Israel´s government preferred not to give offense and sour the new relations, and so offered to take the proposal under consideration. Within weeks, endorsements of the Palestinian proposal for stripping Israel of the Galilee and the Negev were coming from a variety of sources. The Arab League endorsed it. The EU approved a French proposal that the Galilee and Negev be transferred to Palestine in stages over 3 years. Within Israel, many voices were heard in favor of the proposal. Large rallies were held on the university campuses, organized by leftist faculty members. Sociologists from around the world produced studies showing that these Arabs were victims of horrible discrimination and that Israel as a state is characterized by institutional racism. Israeli poets and novelists wrote passionate appeals for support of the Galilee and Negev ‘Others.’

    When Israel´s cabinet rejected the proposal, the pressures mounted. A Galilee and Negev Liberation Organization (GNLO) was founded and immediately granted recognition by the UN General Assembly. It established representative consulate facilities in 143 countries.

    Weeks later, the infiltrations began. Squads of terrorists from Gaza and the West Bank infiltrated Israel through the new borders separating Palestine and Israel. The border fences were reinforced, but to no avail. The US State Department proposed that Israel defuse the situation by considering compromise on the matters of the Galilee and Negev.

    Six months later, the ‘victims of Jewish discrimination’ in the Galilee and Negev decided to escalate their protests. Gangs of Arabs lynched Jews throughout the disputed territories. Roadblocks were set up, and entire families of Jews were dragged from their cars by the activists and militants, and beaten to death or doused with flames. The EU sent in observers, but warned Israel that there is no military solution to the problems of terrorism and violence. When Israel arrested gang leaders from the riots, the General Assembly denounced Israeli state terrorism against Galilee and Negev Arabs. French universities gave the pogrom leaders honorary doctorates. Dozens of universities around the world held special Israel Apartheid Week events to denounce the rump Zionist entity.

    Meanwhile, boycotts of Israel arose throughout Europe.

    Israel´s own leftists launched a Movement against Apartheid, and the foreign press reported that 400,000 protested attended a rally by the Movement in Rabin Square. Cars around Israel had bumper stickers that read “My Son Will Not Die for Nazareth” and “Peace Now”. The Israeli Left urged people to refuse to do army service outside metropolitan Tel Aviv. The Israeli Labor Party proposed erecting a series of separating barriers throughout the Galilee under the slogan “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”.

    But Palestine could not sit idly by. Even before the formal demands by Palestine for the Negev and the Galilee were presented, Qassam rockets and mortars were being fired into Israel from Tul Karem, Beit Jalah, and other towns in Palestine. Over time, the rocket attacks escalated. Barrages of rockets and mortars drenched Israeli cities. The death toll rose to 1,000 Israelis per month. The White House and State Department threatened to cut off all supplies from Israel if it dared to launch reprisal raids against independent Palestine. Large cargo ships from Turkey and Egypt, laden with advanced arms, entered the besieged port of Acre to provide munitions to the Galilee militants. Thousands of volunteers streamed into Palestine from around the world to assist in the campaign to rescue the Galilee and Negev Arabs from Israeli oppression.

    On the afternoon of Yom Kippur, tank columns from Palestine cut Israel in two just north of Tul Karem, near Netanya. Palestine offered to withdraw in exchange for immediately transferring the Negev and Galilee to its control.

    Meanwhile, outside Israel, synagogues in Belgium and France were torched. Teach-ins for the Negev and the Galilee were held on US campuses. A new conference was called in Durban to denounce Israeli apartheid. The White House insisted that Israel not use force to expel the invading Palestine troops who had divided the country, for the dispute was a matter for negotiations and dialogue.

    Increasing numbers of Israeli politicians urged that Israel respond to the situation by granting limited autonomy to the Negev and the Galilee. The Americans offered to send in ground troops to protect the remaining Israeli territories, if Israel would only decide to accept the proposal to give up the Negev and Galilee. Let´s have peace in the hills that Jesus roamed at long last, suggested the President.

    Jews living in the Galilee and Negev were under siege everywhere and the roads were unsafe. The road through the Negev to Eilat was cut by Arab gangs in four places. Leftist Israeli professors officially joined the Arab militias fighting for liberation, as did solidarity protesters from Western countries. Two of the latter blew themselves up on a Jewish school bus to show their solidarity with the oppressed Arabs. Ahmed Tibi, head of the largest Galilee militia, insisted he was doing everything possible to stop the suicide attacks on buses and cafes in Tel Aviv and Haifa by Arab activists from the Galilee, but the Americans demanded that he do more. The UK demanded 100% effort to stop the violence.

    The Negev and Galilee liberation organizations raised their flags over their towns and proposed that the Jews living in their territories be resettled elsewhere. The Palestine War Ministry was shipping them guns and explosives. The first word came of a detention camp north of Nazareth in which Jews expelled from their Galilee homes were being concentrated, with a second camp opened in the Negev near Rahat.

    Strange black smoke rose from the chimneys…”

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/91917/peace-last-palestine-2013-steven-plaut

  10. Michael S

    “Reuters: Thu Mar 16, 2017 | 6:48am EDT
    Israel imposes ‘apartheid regime’ on Palestinians: U.N. report’….

    “‘The report said the “strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people” was the main method through which Israel imposes apartheid, with Palestinians divided into four groups oppressed through “distinct laws, policies and practices.’

    “It identified the four sets of Palestinians as: Palestinian CITIZENS OF ISRAEL; Palestinians in East Jerusalem; Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and PALESTINIANS LIVING AS REFUGEES OR IN EXILE.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-report-idUSKBN16M2IN?il=0

    In other words, Israel will not have ended “apartheid”, until the Jews have left, and the ENTIRE land is an Arab state. Steven Plaut’s “Purim-joke-style” article, it appears, gave the Pals considerable grace.

    Here is the ultimate solution (??):

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