The US-Israel Incentives-Freeze Deal That Never Was

DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports from Washington and Jerusalem that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Obama administration never did manage during his trip to Washington earlier this month to forge a deal for a second 90-day Israeli moratorium on West Bank construction, in return for three billion dollars-worth of 20 F-35 stealth planes.
The only accords reached during his marathon meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Nov. 11, applied to American diplomatic and political support and guarantees, our sources report. Netanyahu's presentation of their terms to the cabinet meeting Sunday, Nov, 14, was therefore misleading. According to that briefing, Washington tacitly agreed to omit Jerusalem from the West Bank moratorium and promised 20 warplanes, in addition to the 20 already purchased, to be supplied gratis.
Our Washington sources stress that Clinton made no such commitments on behalf of the administration.
The prime minister apparently hoped to swing a majority of his cabinet behind the 90-day moratorium in return for those far-reaching US benefits and hoped to persuade Washington to be more generous after the freeze was in the bag.
As things stand now, the prime minister finds himself in a predicament. Reluctant to embarrass him, US administration officials are making no comment. But some of Israel's senior ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, a former Chief of Staff, demanded that Netanyahu produce a written document from the White House confirming the putative deal
The prime minister has been hedging all week saying the document is in negotiation with Clinton.
It is now obvious that no American document will be coming. Even if it is, our sources say it will not be much use to Netanyahu because it will cover Jerusalem as part of the construction freeze as well as the West Bank.
This situation prompted David Hale, Deputy U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to advise the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom he visited in Ramallah Wednesday, to pay no attention to published reports of a US-Israel deal contracted by Netanyahu because it did not exist.

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