• Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Judah Rosen on Can Water Bring Peace?
    Judah Rosen on Six Days & Fifty Year…
    Gus on Six Days & Fifty Year…
    Hillel Damron on Days—and Heroes—to Remember
    dov on Days—and Heroes—to Remember
  • Top Posts

  • Search by Category

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 11,578 hits
  • Pages

  • Twitter

  • Meta

The Big Freeze

What freeze?… The decision by the Israeli government, I’m referring to, not weather conditions in the Mid West. It was taken by the Security Cabinet on November 25, and states that for 10 months Israel will freeze all new settlement constructions in the West Bank, not including East Jerusalem and other surrounding areas, which Israel considers de facto within its own borders, no matter the outcome of a future peace agreement with the Palestinians. It does not include, the so-called freeze, existing constructions of nearly 3,000 units to be completed, including some 28 public buildings. In other words: any and all constructions that had begun prior to the decision on the freeze will continue. Even more so: the Israeli cabinet has approved (December 13), an infusion of cash to all settlements within those areas it considers nonnegotiable, therefore encouraging in effect more building construction and expansion. The only actual freeze is that for those 10 months—why ten months and not twelve, one may ask—no new permissions, and contracts that we know of, we’ll be granted. At the same time, assuming no real progress will be made towards resuming peace negotiations—most certainly towards peace itself—in those ten months, Israel is probably working on and planning new building permissions, and contracts, which will green-lighted the tractors to roar and move into action, a la Arik Sharon, once the freeze is over. And the clock is ticking already.

But, truth be told, the big freeze continues. And it continues on two fronts: first one is the freeze of any peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. So much so that it is hard to remember a period in the last thirty years or so, when at a time of relative calm, hardly any hostility being reported, there is also no movement whatsoever towards peace. A total freeze indeed! Israel goes about its business (to prove the point it announced Monday that it would build nearly 700 housing units in Jewish areas of Jerusalem, on territory conquered in the 1967 war), and so are the Palestinians. And these two shall not meet or talk with each other. In a sad, ironic kind of way, the only negotiations that do exist between Israel and the Palestinians are actually those taken place with Hamas; the one organization Israel vowed not to talk to. And these see-saw back channel talks regarding the fate of the Israeli captured soldier Gilad Shalit, on the one hand, and numerous jailed Palestinians, among them Marwan Barghouti on the other, which just a few weeks ago seemed so close to a successful conclusion, are yet to bear fruits. Though one never really knows. A successful conclusion, hopefully—which can come any day—may bring with it also a surprise unfreezing of the big freeze.

Which brings me to the other big freeze. Or, more accurately, the big failure: the current ceasing of all meaningful American involvement, only some faint attempts, at jump-starting the negotiation vehicle, stuck deep in the frozen peace tundra of the Middle East rejoin. It’s as if the Obama administration, caught by all the other, and more burning issues facing it, including the obsession of its own citizenry with the Tiger in the Woods affair, all but forgot about the necessity to deal forcefully with the stalemate of its Middle East affairs. A former Israeli Justice Minister and Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin, has even called on U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell to resign, accusing him of having “failed” in his mission to advance the peace progress (December 13, Haaretz.). Of course, and as stated here in a previous post, Netanyahu rightly calculated from the outset of the current administration, and had played his cards (including this “split-personality freeze”) to perfection, that at the end Obama would be too occupy with other, more important affairs, to be bothered with bringing peace to the Middle East. Internally the economy, job loss and the health care initiative; and externally, ending the war in Iraq while beginning a new stage in the war in Afghanistan, not to mention the nuclear issues, mainly with Iran, are of more urgency on his oval office’s desk. And of course, let’s not forget receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for peace, and giving another excellent speech about the necessity of war and the yearning for peace. If at the same time the big freeze continues, and there is no peace to be found in the Middle East, what the heck. Let them freeze!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: