By Ted Belman
Don’t celebrate the end of the construction freeze or the attemps to connect the freeze to direct negotiations.
Many decades ago Israel agreed with the US to limit construction to infilling. That meant no new settlements and no expansion of settlements over more territory. But it didn’t include construction on land annexed by Israel like the Golan and Jerusalem at least not formally.
Haaretz reports that the UN is demanding that Israel adhere to its commitment under the Roadmap to cease settlement construction while ignoring the Arab violations to cease incitement and violence contained in said Roadmap.
The US is also committed to opposing Judea and Samaria construction.
State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said Wednesday that the fact Washington was no longer pushing a temporary settlement freeze did not mean it condones continued building, stressing that the United States does not and will not accept Israel’s continued West Bank settlement activity.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Crowley reiterated that the fact that the United States no longer considered a settlement freeze as a sufficient condition for continued talks did not mean Washington changed its views toward Israel’s settlement activity.
As the United States continues with its attempts to renew talks, Crowley said, U.S. “position on settlements has not and will not change.”
It seems that while the US violated understandings reached between previous administrations of such construction, it still insists that Israel be bound by them. Not only that it is insisting on no infilling.
Your move, Bibi.
Don’t hold your breath for a change. So long as the US continues its efforts to forge a deal, construction will be very constrained.