Clinton says no more settlement building:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said there must be no exceptions to President Barack Obama’s demand that Israel stop its settlement activity. Correspondents say it is the first time in years that US officials have been so vocal in calling for a settlement freeze in the Palestinian territories.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with her Egyptian counterpart, Mrs Clinton said that the president was “very clear” with Benjamin Netanyahu at their recent meeting that there should be a stop to all settlements. “Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions. We think it is in the best interest of the effort that we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease,” Mrs Clinton said.
Israel is to continue construction inside existing Jewish settlements, an official said today, despite a clear call from the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, for a halt to all settlement growth.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, said today that “normal life” would be allowed to continue inside existing settlements, which included new construction such as enlarging homes and building schools to accommodate growing families.
I wonder who will blink first. Probably Netanyahu, because Israel is dependent on American military and diplomatic help, but the USA isn’t dependent on Israel for anything. Obama has evidently calculated that he can win a confrontation with Israel — or to be more precise, a confrontation between the US presidency and AIPAC — which is why he’s pushing this now, and if he doesn’t blink, he will.
It may be, of course, that Netanyahu’s defiance is merely pro forma talking tough to appeal to his domestic audience, and that he intends to do what Obama wants, provided he is pushed strongly enough on the issue.