Thursday's headlines told the tale. The day after Netanyahu bowed to US pressure and announced a total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria for ten months, Yediot Aharonot reported that the Obama administration now wants Israel to release a thousand Fatah terrorists from prison.
The Americans also want Israel to allow US-trained, terror-supporting Fatah paramilitary forces to deploy in areas that are currently under Israeli military control. Moreover, the Americans are demanding that Israel surrender land in the strategically crucial Jordan Valley to Fatah.
And these are just American preconditions for starting negotiations with the Palestinians. According to Yediot, if those talks ever begin, the White House will demand that Israel accept a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza and agree to ethnically cleanse all the areas of Jews.
So far from winning American support or at least causing the White House to ease its bullying, US President Barack Obama sees Netanyahu's decision to implement a militarily irrational, bigoted policy of prohibiting Jews from building in Israel's heartland as a drop in the bucket.
THE TRUTH is that Israel should not be in the business of negotiating the right of Israeli cities and villages to exist and prosper. The notion that it is acceptable to demand that Jews not be permitted to live in Judea and Samaria - or anywhere else in the world - is not a notion that Israel should countenance.
That being said, putting the so-called "settlements" genie back in the bottle is a tall order. After all, Israel agreed to place it on the table in the 1993 Oslo agreements and made its willingness to dry out Jewish communities explicit with its acceptance of the so-called road map in 2004. To take Israeli communities off the agenda it would be necessary to repudiate these deals.
Given what it will take to remove Jewish communities from the negotiations chopping block, it makes sense that Netanyahu has not moved in that direction since taking office. But willingness to discuss these communities is not the same as giving them away for nothing. In discussing the dispositions of these towns and villages, at a minimum Netanyahu should have taken advantage of the fact that the Americans, the Europeans and the Arabs all consider the so-called "settlements" to be the most important obstacle to peace.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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