Palestinians Blast Netanyahu for Choosing ‘Settlements and Not Peace’
November 9, 2010
(ChattahBox World News)—Well, this is déjà vu all over again. On the eve of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s scheduled trip to the U.S., the building of over a thousand new Israeli housing units was announced in the local papers. Sound familiar? With the Israelis unwilling to resume a moratorium on construction in annexed territories, the peace talks with the Palestinians have effectively come to an end. The White House is making the appropriate condemnations in the wake of yet another diplomatic poke in the eye from Netanyahu. But the Palestinians minced no words. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator blasted Netanyahu, saying “Unfortunately, he chose to send a strong message that his choice is settlements and not peace.”
Of course, this behavior by Israel is all too familiar. On the eve of a peace mission visit to Israel by Vice President Joe Biden, the Israelis blindsided him with news of a settlement expansion. And it happened again, before a subsequent visit by BiBi to the U.S.
As previously reported by ChattahBox, “And the announcement of plans “to build 1,600 new housing units for Jews” in Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem on the eve of Vice President Joe Biden’s peace trip to Israel, angered the Obama administration, which viewed the announcement as an “insult.” Netanyahu apologized for the “timing” of the announcement. But his “timing” was off again, as yet another announcement of new Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem, was released to the press before his scheduled meeting with President Obama. And before the White House meeting, Netanyahu delivered a defiant speech to the pro-Israel group AIPAC.”
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, said the settlement controversy would be broached during the meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We were deeply disappointed by the announcement of advanced planning for new housing units in sensitive areas of East Jerusalem. It is counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” said Crowley in an official statement.
The Palestinians are not impressed.
“Nevertheless, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said that the Palestinians condemned the latest plans “in the strongest possible terms.”’
“Mr. Erekat said by telephone that Mr. Netanyahu “is defying everyone and saying, ‘My choice is settlements, not peace.’ ”
Suddenly, the prospect of peace in the Middle East seems unlikely in our lifetime.