U.S. offers Israel incentives package in exchange for 3 month settlement freeze

14 Nov

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pose for photographers before their meeting in New York, November 11, 2010. Getty Images / REUTERS / Brendan McDermid


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Security cabinet meets on Saturday night, receives update from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on proposed U.S. incentives package.

November 13, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s seven-member inner cabinet will discuss Saturday an offer by the United States to reinstate a freeze on West Bank Settlement construction in return for a package of incentives. 

Netanyahu presented Saturday the U.S. offer, which was discussed by Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday, to the forum of seven. 

According to the offer Israel would stop construction in the West Bank for 90 days. The freeze includes construction that began after the end of the first settlement moratorium on September 26. 

The moratorium would not apply to construction in East Jerusalem. The U.S. will not ask Israel to extend the new moratorium when it expires.

In return, the U.S. government would ask Congress to authorize the delivery of 20 F-35 fighter jets to Israel, a deal worth $3 billion. Moreover, if an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is achieved, the U.S. would sign a comprehensive security agreement with Israel. The U.S. and Israel are to discuss the nature of the new security arrangements in the next few weeks. 

According to “The Cable” blog, White House Middle East adviser Dan Shapiro told a group of American Jewish leaders on Friday that the incentives package includes commitments to oppose anti-Israel diplomatic efforts in the international arena. 

The U.S. incentives package would also include: curbing actions by the United Nations on the Goldstone Report; blocking anti-Israel UN resolutions concerning the Gaza flotilla raid; defeating international resolutions aimed at exposing Israel’s nuclear program at the International Atomic Energy Agency; and strengthening pressure on Iran and Syria in regards to their nuclear and proliferation activities. 

U.S.-sponsored direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority broke down on September 26 when a 10-month Israeli freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank expired. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he would not restart negotiations with Israel while settlement construction continues. (*)

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