Senator Paul Rand, who was just in Israel countered Obama's position by stating that Building in J'lem none of US's business:
As week-long visit to Israel comes to a close, senator says US should not meddle in decisions regarding settlement construction.This may be a moot point now, seeing as the EU has now seen fit to apply pressure on Israel on the settlements in the context of a new series of peace talks.
It is “none of our business” whether Israel builds new neighborhoods in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should not tell Israel how to defend itself, US Sen. (RKentucky) said on Saturday night at the end of a week-long visit to the country.
Ynet News is reporting about EU working on new Mideast peace plan:
The European Union is working on a detailed plan meant to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and establish an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Israeli diplomatic sources as saying.This means they would be pushing a plan that would pretty much keep to the 1967 borders that are a threat to Israel's security, since Abbas has shown no sign of being willing to make significant land swaps -- based on the generous peace deal from Olmert that Abbas turned down.
The plan will set a clear timetable for a discussion on all core issues over the course of 2013. It will likely be presented in March after a new Israeli government is formed.
According to the plan, Israel and the Palestinians will enter peace negotiations after a brief interval. The plan will likely also include a demand to freeze settlement construction.
The initiative is promoted by the British and French foreign ministers, and has the support of Germany.
Meanwhile, the EU is willing to give over to Abbas what is referred to as "East Jerusalem" -- where the only time there was Arab control was for the 19 years during 1948 to 1967, when Jordan illegally held onto the land in a move recognized only by Great Britain and Pakistan and all Jews were forced to leave.
It appears that ethnic cleansing by Arabs does not bother the EU.
Meanwhile, they want to go beyond making this a purely "EU" plan, with High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton looking to make this an "all-Europe" plan.
Going a step further, this party may include a Middle Eastern committee including Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states -- which will of course serve to marginalize Israel even more. The Palestinian Arabs have made it clear that they would accept an invitation to such a meeting.
Once it became clear that Obama was not going to strong arm Israel into an agreement along the lines that wanted, Abbas has refused to come to the table for the past few years. The obvious solution to dealing with Abbas's refusal to negotiate is to create a situation that will apply pressure on Israel.
Unlike when Abbas refuses to negotiate peace, when Israel is put into a corner with talks that come with pre-conditioned unilateral concessions and balks -- that will make Israel into the bad guy.
As one senior Israeli official put it:
There is great movement behind the scenes. The Europeans can't force Israel to enter into an agreement, but they can certainly put us in an awkward position.The bottom line is that despite the questions surrounding Obama's new choices for his cabinet -- Hagel, Kerry and Brennan -- the more immediate pressure on Israel will be coming from Europe.
...They are drafting a document which will present the principles of the future peace accord, putting it on the table as a challenge. It is likely the Palestinians will accept it and that Israel will have some difficulty. It will drive us into the corner.
At least for the time being.
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