‘The American veto in the UN
is being used as a threat against our negotiators’
Contrary to reports in the media that portray the U.S. as giving Israel a “package” of “benefits” for another three months of building freeze in Judea and Samaria, Washington is actually demanding a lot more for its largesse – far more than Israel can safely agree to, said Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau.
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According to Landau, the conditions for the deal are far different than those being portrayed in the Israeli media, which is telling Israelis that in exchange for a “small” Israeli gesture of an additional three month freeze, Jerusalem will receive a bundle of benefits, including additional advanced F-35 fighter jets, and an American guarantee to veto any anti-Israel proposals at the United Nations and other world bodies – and to similarly smash any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to seek U.N. approval for a declaration of independence for an Arab state in Judea and Samaria.
But the United States doesn’t just want a three month extension, said Landau. When asked why he was opposed to so much benefit for “only” three more months of a building freeze, Landau responded, “Israel has failed to learn from the past. President Obama is ignoring previous promises, also written in a letter, that President Bush presented to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Those promises, too, were portrayed as a great diplomatic achievement.
“All the American promises share a similar characteristic – they lack specifics, and are not carried out if they are found to be damaging to American interests.” That was the case with the 2003 letter Bush presented Sharon, ostensibly recognizing Israel’s right to retain the “settlement blocs” in the event of a deal with the PA; in the end, that American promise has been rescinded by President Barack Obama because he has decided it is in American interests to do so.
‘The Americans are demanding
that we come to a full
agreement with the PA
in order for the benefits to kick in’
“Here too, with the Obama promises, we must see the structure of the deal – and you see that the Americans are demanding that we come to a full agreement with the PA in order for the benefits to kick in,” Landau explained. “You only get the benefits in the event of a final-status agreement – only when everything is over.” Given the history of Israel-PA negotiations, the likelihood of that happening is “very low,” he added.
Perhaps even worse, Landau said, the understandings between Israel and the United States – which included American opposition to a unilaterally declared PA state – are apparently no longer extant, and have instead been turned into a “sword of Damocles,” to be held over the head of Israel.
“Until now, it was understood that the U.S. would veto” sanctions against Israel, or a non-negotiated settlement of the Middle East conflict. Apparently that has changed, Landau said. “The veto was promised and taken as a matter of course, as long as progress was being made and negotiations were continuing. No ‘gestures’ were required to expect it. Now, the American veto is being used as a threat against our negotiators, pressuring them to surrender our positions. If in a year there is no deal – and it’s unlikely there will be – the threat will descend like a sword on our heads, and the U.S. will blame us” and vote against Israel, Landau said.