Remember back when everyone was mad at Netanyahu? That was because just as Joe Biden was in Israel trying to get peace talks started, Israel announced it was going to build a whole bunch of new settlement housing in East Jerusalem, in a neighborhood called Ramat Shlomo.
As part of the newest round of proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel annouced yesterday that it would not build the approved Ramat Shlomo neighborhood for at least two years. There, are you happy now?
Israel had pledged not to build in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of East Jerusalem for two years and that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed that he would work against incitement of any sort.But then today, one day later, oops.
Just two days after resuming peace talks with Israel, the Palestinian Authority has reported to the United States what it termed the first violation of negotiation terms, a senior Palestinian official said Monday.About the first round of talks, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said:
Yasser Abed Rabbo said the construction of 14 housing units for Jewish settlers in an East Jerusalem neighbourhood, as reported by the Israeli Peace Now pressure group, violated the terms of new talks.
Erekat said that during their meeting, Abbas gave Mitchell a letter outlining the Palestinian Authority's position on proximity talks and the issues it wants to discuss. Abbas would head the Palestinian negotiating team himself, Erekat said, adding that the Palestinians view the talks as aimed at "The end of the occupation and creation of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel along the 1967 borders."And Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak echoed his sentiments at a separate event:
"Without an agreement, we will be subject to international isolation, and we will suffer a fate similar to that of Belfast or Bosnia, or a gradual transition from a paradigm of two states for two peoples to one of one state for two peoples, and some people will try to label us as similar to South Africa. That's why we must act," Barak said. If both sides are willing to make brave decisions, he said, "it will be possible to get to direct negotiations and a breakthrough toward an agreement."So it looks like Barak is super duper ready to make a two-state solution with the Palestinians, but clearly the rest of the government is not on board. Ah, well, no matter. I'm sure Netanyahu and Lieberman and all those guys will enjoy being a Jewish minority in, oh, 20 years.