dinsdag 8 september 2009

Barak zal nog toestemming geven voor 500 nieuwe woningen op Westoever

Dat lijkt me niet helemaal volgens de regels: nadat je met veel moeite een overeenkomst hebt gesloten over een tijdelijke bevriezing van de nederzettingen, nog even snel de bouw van 500 nieuwe woningen goedkeuren. Het is dan ook niet zo vreemd dat de rest van de wereld hierover not amused was. Israel kan er met recht op wijzen dat ook de VS zich niet aan de regels heeft gehouden, en op een eerdere overeenkomst met Israel is teruggekomen, en dit bovendien op een niet zo fraaie manier publiekelijk heeft uitgevochten, maar het één rechtvaardigt niet het ander. Natanjahoe laat hiermee zien geen betrouwbare onderhandelingspartner te zijn, en zet onnodig kwaad bloed bij zowel de VS, Europa als de Arabische staten. Zijn die vijfhonderd huizen dat nou echt waard?
Barak to approve 500 new housing units in West Bank
Defense Minister Ehud Barak will approve the construction of some 500 new housing units in the West Bank by Monday evening, following an agreement reached with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. At the same time, however, he called it an Israeli duty and interest to "soberly and openheartedly support the American initiative" for a comprehensive agreement in the Middle East.
According to Channel 1, the newly-approved units will be within existent blocs and cities, such as Modi'in Illit, Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion.

Netanyahu intends to authorize hundreds of new West Bank housing units, and only then consider a freeze "for a few months" on further construction, a source in the Prime Minister's Office told The Jerusalem Post.

Reports suggest that settlement construction would be frozen for six to nine months, with work already in progress continuing on 2,500 housing units, and east Jerusalem largely excluded under the incipient deal.

US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, who is due in the region at the end of the week, was reportedly briefed on the plan by Netanyahu during the latter's recent talks with Mitchell in London.

Speaking on Sunday evening at an event held by the Yad Lebanim soldier's memorial organization at the Herzliya Performing Arts Center, Barak said that the US Middle East initiative was in Israel's interest.

"We stand today at the threshold of a sensitive and meaningful period," said the defense minister. "The security challenges have not disappeared, and we are committed to guarding Israel's vital security interests from any threat, but we are also on the verge of diplomatic decisions.

"I believe that it is our duty to soberly and open-heartedly support the American initiative leading to a comprehensive regional peace agreement in the Middle East," Barak continued.

"This arrangement will include components of normalization with moderate factors in the Arab world, but will also serve a tailwind for a meaningful process with the Palestinians, and hopefully in the future with the Syrians.

"I would like to reiterate, this is an Israeli interest," the defense minister said. "Even if there are disagreements with the US, I am convinced that it is possible and necessary to overcome them, and set a meaningful diplomatic process into motion, which will lead to a two-state solution, with us reaching an arrangement containing an end to the conflict, and bring an end to mutual Israeli and Palestinian demands, while maintaining what is essential to our future and security.

"I repeat, this is the Israeli interest and we must resolutely strive to achieve it," Barak added.

Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report.

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