US MAY ALLOW BUILDING IN RETURN FOR SETTING BORDERS!
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
The Arabic-language Al Quds newspaper based in Jerusalem reported Monday morning that the United States has proposed to agree to Israel’s building a hotel on Jewish-owned property in eastern Jerusalem and several hundred homes elsewhere in return for the American government’s setting new borders for Israel and the proposed Palestinian Authority state.
The U.S. also will include a provision that 300,000 foreign Arabs can immigrate into areas that Israel would cede to the PA in return for retaining Jewish towns and cities in Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and possibly Ariel and nearby communities. The PA previously has rejected the idea.
Neither Israel nor the Obama administration has commented on the report.
The issue of the proposed hotel in Jerusalem has left all three sides – the Obama and Netanyahu government and the PA –entrenching themselves into positions that have left virtually no room for compromise.
All sides agree on one critical point with different conclusions: They see no difference between the status of a hotel in eastern Jerusalem and the building of homes in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods populated by more than 250,000 Jews in the capital. The PA, with Obama’s backing, has demanded sovereignty over all of the areas – including Ramot, French Hill and Gilo – that were restored to the Jewish State in the Six-Day War in 1967.
The Netanyahu government, with wide support from virtually every party except Meretz and Arab factions, considers all of the areas part of a united Israeli city that will continue to serve as its capital, without a PA presence.
The current crisis began in early June, when U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the Muslim world in Cairo and said that a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is “illegitimate.” The State Department later widened the definition of “settlements” to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, located directly across the road from Gilo.
President Obama sent U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell to try to reach an agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu, but their positions were so far apart that the meeting was canceled. Instead, Mitchell met at least three times with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also has explicitly ruled out Israel’s right to build anywhere in eastern Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria, refused to comment on the dispute and Mitchell’s postponement of another trip to Israel.
The Prime Minister’s public statements on Sunday that Israel will not consider sacrificing its rights in Jerusalem were an attempt “to pre-empt further American efforts to stop Jewish building in east Jerusalem,” according to Israeli officials quoted by The New York Times.