President Obama’s announcement in favour of withdrawal to the lines of 1967 was surprising, particularly as it was said mere hours before his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.
Advisors to the American president obviously knew that the announcement would invite a counter-response by the most right-wing prime minister in the history of Israel. “Blunt” was the definition of analysts close to the White House: without diplomatic language, the prime minister responded that he has no intention or ability of returning to the lines of 4 June 1967, for both security and demographic reasons.
Did President Obama wish for confrontation with Netanyahu? Are we at the beginning of a crisis in US-Israeli relations? We are also one year before elections in the United States, and the Democratic party will soon require the traditional donations of the Jewish and pro-Israeli capitalists.
There is no doubt that the differences in approach between the two countries are real, and at conclusion of the meeting with Netanyahu, Obama even warned that “the primary differences of opinion with Israel remain regarding the manner for reaching peace in the Middle East.” No more and no less! While the Americans think that peace requires an Israeli withdrawal to the lines of 4 June 1967, the Israeli prime minister believes that peace in the region will be obtained by an expansion of settlements. Minor differences….and despite this, it paradoxically appears that the declaration of Obama was said for the good of the Israeli state, because after the declarations will come actions, and especially the planned September vote in the United Nations General Assembly.
There is a foundation to believe that the American declarations concerning withdrawal to the 1967 lines come to please the Arab states and the Arab street, to show them that the United States does not stand unconditionally behind Israeli policies; in this sense the White House invited the blunt response of Netanyahu and counted on it. Now, Obama has free reign to torpedo the decision of the United Nations concerning a Palestinian state in the borders of 4 June.
“Words don’t cost money”, and of course Obama and Clinton estimate that Israel will soon require practical assistance from the United States in the international arena. It is not difficult to bet that in this test, the United States and its president will stand by Israel. One does not need to love conspiracy theories to understand that beyond the mutual lack of sympathy between Obama and Netanyahu, there exists coordination between them and a sort of division of labour. One speaks against settlements and the other immediately builds 1,400 new housing units in settlements.
It is possible to speak about a crisis between two allies only and when Washington will impose sanctions on Israel, for example if it will delay military assistance for several months. The end of days? Not necessarily: When in 1991 George Bush the father encountered the refusal of Yitzhak Shamir to announce a freezing of settlements, he froze bank guarantees worth NIS 13 billion dollars that were promised by Congress, and the money remained in the United States until Shamir fell and was replaced by the Rabin government. American pressure is possible, but there is great doubt if Obama will use it. His seemingly far-reaching statements are no more than a cover for the expected American support of Israel in the United Nations General Assembly in September.
QALQILIYA — Israeli forces began to install a barbed-wire fence on Monday around a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, saying it was meant to prevent stone throwing.
Residents of Izbat At-Tabib, located east of Qalqiliya, awoke to the sounds of construction, and were told that lands made inaccessible by the construction were being confiscated for the construction of a buffer area between the village and the settler road that passes to its north.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the construction and said it was to deter stone throwers.
Bayan Tabib, president of the village’s council, said the construction and confiscations came without warning, and effectively caged in residents.
“This was an arbitrary decision meant to isolate the village and part of the Israeli effort to take it over. Israeli forces have threatened more than once to displace our people,” he said.
The village is located about 1.5 kilometers from two settlement blocs, one of which extends some 22 kilometers into the occupied West Bank.
Izbat At-Tabib is the second Palestinian population center that has been fenced in under the pretext of preventing stone throwing.
In March, the town of Beit Ummar was fenced in from one side, and three homes and workshops demolished.
RAMALLAH — Israeli forces arrested the mother of senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri Monday morning after raiding her home in Aroura village near Ramallah.
Soldiers surrounded the Arouri residence in the village and then tampered with the contents inside while searching the premises, Salama al-Arouri told the Palestinian Information Center.
He added that they notified Arouri’s mother Aisha, 70, that an arrest warrant had been issued against her. The soldiers brutally apprehended her when she expressed refusal to respond.
Arouri said his mother suffers from several illnesses and is unable to walk without the help of others. He held Israel liable for harm caused to her.
Arouri’s son Asim was arrested a few days back for questioning.
The Hamas politburo member spent a total of 18 years in Israeli prisons before Israel exiled him to Syria last year.
The Ahrar prisoner studies center said in a statement that the ”cowardly act” was aimed at pressuring the Arouris, an active Palestinian family.
It was not the first incident where Israel abducted the mothers of activists, said Fuad al-Khuffash, Ahrar center director. A year back, Rabi’a Bilal was arrested to pressure her sons during interrogations. Israel also arrested the mother and wife of Yahya Ayyash, who was wanted and on the run.