US, Israel have 80pc of West Bank construction deal in the bag – much less on Jerusalem

A high-ranking US source told debkafile Wednesday night, Aug. 26, that some areas of understanding could be said to have come out of the four-hour meeting between British prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell earlier in London. He put it this way: The Obama administration and Netanyahu government have attained an 80 percent of an accord on a settlement construction freeze although they also agreed not to make this accord official. Meanwhile, 2,500 agreed building starts can go forward.
According to our sources, the fairly slow construction of these units, some of which are still in the design stage, would take both President Barack Obama and Netanyahu to the end of their terms in office.
This program will permit Netanyahu to present West Bank communal leaders with an expansion plan, of which Part One can go forward, in return for which they will refrain from making a fuss and embarrassing his government.
The other part of the US-Israeli understanding reached in London Wednesday provides for Israel to carry on building Jewish housing in Jerusalem on a limited scale. Projects in some parts of East Jerusalem will go forward, others will be frozen, as decided by Israel.
Both parties will retain some leverage in case the understandings attained do not hold up. In other words, if Washington sees Israel neglecting to respect their West Bank understandings, the US will turn up the heat with regard to construction in Jerusalem.
Conversely, if Israel feels the Americans are not respecting their part of the deal, the Netanyahu government will step up construction in Jerusalem.
One American diplomat commenting on this emerging US-Israeli accord said: “Whoever has the bad luck to be put in charge of getting this deal up and running will have very little hair left on his head by the time Obama and Netanyahu end their first terms in office in 2012.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email