After Trump request, Netanyahu formulating goodwill gestures toward Palestinians

At the meeting the security cabinet decided to curb settlement construction, Netanyahu told the ministers: We must not mislead the Americans, they are tracking every house in the settlements, including in East Jerusalem.

By Barak Ravid, HAARETZ

The Trump administration is asking Israel to carry out a series of goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the security cabinet last Thursday, when he announced plans to curb construction in the settlements.

These measures should have an immediate effect on the Palestinians’ economic situation, ministers and senior officials who attended the meeting told Haaretz.

During Thursday’s meeting, Netanyahu said several times that U.S. President Donald Trump is determined to advance the Israeli-Palestinian issue and for the two parties to reach an agreement, the sources said.

Netanyahu said he did not know exactly how Trump wants to make progress, but the prime minister stressed the importance of Israel demonstrating goodwill and not being seen as the one causing the U.S. initiative to fail.

Three ministers and two senior government officials who participated in Thursday’s meeting, or who were updated on the details of it, briefed Haaretz on what happened behind the scenes during the nighttime discussions about contacts between the United States and Israel on the Palestinian issue.

All five asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter, and also because it was a closed meeting.

Netanyahu said he intends to agree to the American demands for additional goodwill steps in the West Bank and Gaza, with the potential for an immediate uptick for the Palestinian economy. He did not provide details about what moves would be taken, but a number of the ministers present understood that one possible step would include granting the Palestinians permission to build in Area C (some 60 percent of the West Bank, under full Israeli civil and security control).

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who has blocked previous efforts by Netanyahu to take similar actions, once more presented his reservations. Bennett said he expects that any actions Israel takes on the ground, and the goodwill gestures to the Palestinians, will not expand into moves with major foreign policy implications.

The leader of the far-right Habayit Hayehudi party added that if Netanyahu does consider such moves, he expects the matter to be brought back to the security cabinet for a further discussion and approval.

Netanyahu scheduled a meeting with the Israel Defense Forces’ Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and other officials, for Sunday, when they will attempt to put together the package of goodwill gestures and other steps.

Even though the Prime Minister’s Office stated in recent days no limitations will exist on construction in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem situated over the Green Line, Netanyahu sounded less emphatic in the security cabinet meeting and hinted that there would not be full normalization on this issue.

“There are no limitations on construction in Jerusalem, but we will need to act wisely,” he told ministers, hinting it’s possible that certain limitations may be imposed on building in the capital.

In addition, Netanyahu informed the security cabinet a decision had been made to limit the activities of the highest-level planning committee of the IDF’s Civil Administration, which approves building plans for the settlements. Instead of meeting once a week, as was customary, the committee will now meet only once every three months.

Netanyahu told the ministers that each of the committee’s meetings – during which decisions are made and then revealed about building plans for the settlements, even if they are only minor technical decisions – leads to media reports, which then causes friction and tension with the international community. Accumulating such plans and having them brought up for discussion only four times a year will limit the amount of global protest, added Netanyahu.

At the same time, limiting the activities of the IDF’s planning committee could also have an influence on the number of plans approved, as well as the pace at which they advance.

A senior member on the Yesha Council of settlements in the West Bank said fewer committee meetings would mean a slowdown in the planning process. It would be enough for Netanyahu or Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to cancel just a single committee meeting for supposedly technical reasons in order to create a situation in which no plans are approved for a full six months.

In a meeting of the heads of the coalition, Bennet turned to Netanyahu and said that the new policy on settlement construction will be tested by how it would be implemented. “I ask that after Passover a date would be set for the Supreme Planning Committee to convene in order to approve construction plans,” said the education minister. Netanyahu did not respond, but his chief of staff, Horowitz, said that he will check and will soon schedule a committee meeting.

Netanyahu also told the ministers Thursday that stricter limitations and supervision will be imposed on construction in unauthorized outposts. It is assumed no further construction will be allowed in existing unauthorized outposts, and new ones will be removed shortly after they go up.

Even though the new construction policy is not part of an agreement with the United States, or even part of the unofficial understandings with the White House, the Trump administration is following their implementation very closely, said Netanyahu.

Israel must keep to its new policy of restraint and implement it strictly, without trying to deceive the Trump administration, because the Americans know about every house being built in the settlements, he added.

At Sunday’s Likud ministerial meeting Monday morning, Horowitz, who manages communications with the White House on the issue of the settlements, said that originally the Americans had requested a complete freeze in construction. “It started from zero,” Horowitz told the ministers. “The result we reached was much better.” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in response: “I won’t go into it here, but you don’t know how right he is.”

April 2, 2017 | 11 Comments » | 481 views

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. PM Netanyahu must provide cover for

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/31/background-press-briefing-upcoming-visits-president-al-sisi-egypt-and Abdullah II of Jordan

    March 28, 2017
    ..

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Al Sisi of Egypt

    President Donald J. Trump looks forward to welcoming President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt for an official visit to Washington on April 3. President Trump and President Al Sisi will use the visit to build on the positive momentum they have built for the United States-Egypt relationship. They will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues, including how to defeat ISIS and pursue peace and stability in the region.

    March 31, 2017
    ..

    Press Secretary Statement on the Visit of King Abdullah II of Jordan

    President Donald J. Trump looks forward to welcoming King Abdullah II of Jordan to the White House on April 5. President Trump and King Abdullah will exchange views on a range of shared interests in the Middle East, including how the United States and Jordan can best defeat ISIS, end the conflict in Syria, and advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The two leaders will also discuss how to further strengthen cooperation between the United States and Jordan and promote peace and prosperity in the Middle East.

  2. :
    Big Government at work.

    With friends like Jewish-Israeli government officials, who needs Arabs?

    These guys don’t represent Jews. They don’t even represent Israelis.

    They represent the US (social-) Democratic Party.

    .. and just to show you how nice we are, we’re going to screw over our own constituents.

  3. What will Trump do when he realizes that the Two State Solution is a Progressive/Democratic/Socialist fantasy designed to weaken and destroy Israel? Or will he realize this? The same question applies to his buddy Netanyahu.

  4. guess nutunyahoo is running for the position czar of peas never
    guess he never misses an opportunity to LIE

  5. 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

  6. TRUMP KNOWS AND REALIZES EVERYTHING, HE IS NOT INNOCENT BY ANY MEANS. TRUMP DOES NOT CARE FOR THE USA, NOR DOES HE CARE FOR ISRAEL. TRUMP ONLY CARES FOR TRUMP. HE IS A PART OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER, AND ANYTHING HE DOES IS FOR OUR BENEFIT. HIS DAUGHTER’S PHONY CONVERSION TO JUDAISM IS A JOKE, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YAHVEH AND TORAH. THIS WAS ALL DONE TO FORMULATE A JEWISH/GENTILE DYNASTY OF SORTS. NONE OF THEM ARE CHRISTIAN AND CERTAINLY NOT JEWISH. KUSHNER WHO CLAIMS TO BE AN ORTHODOX JEW, SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DATING IVANKA IN THE FIRST PLACE, THERE ARE HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE ORTHODOX JEWISH WOMEN OUT THERE, AND WHY DID HE NOT GET HIMSELF A GENUINE ONE. AS A MESSIANIC CHRISTIAN, I DO NOT CONSIDER IVANKA CHRISTIAN, NOR DO I CONSIDER HER JEWISH, THEY ARE PLAINLY ALL BUSINESS AND NOTHING ELSE. THERE IS NOTHING CHRISTIAN OR JEWISH ABOUT ANY OF THEM.

  7. I am disgusted with both Trump and Bibi. Two liars and the Israeli people remain ‘enslaved’ under Trump and Bibi. I do not see Trump making concessions and friendly gestures to North Korea. Why not? This Passover we are still not free from our enemies both external and internal.

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