Monday, November 15, 2010

U.S. offers Israel warplanes in return for new settlement freeze

Netanyahu presents security cabinet with Clinton’s incentive of 20 F-35 fighter planes and security guarantees in exchange for 90-day West Bank building moratorium.

By Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz (Israel), Nov 13, 2010


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s seven-member inner cabinet discussed Saturday an offer by the United States to reinstate a freeze on West Bank Settlement construction in return for a package of incentives.

Netanyahu presented Saturday the U.S. offer, which was discussed by Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday, to the forum of seven.

netanyahu - Reuters - November 11 2010 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at their meeting in New York, November 11, 2010.
Photo by: Reuters

According to the offer Israel would stop construction in the West Bank for 90 days. The freeze includes construction that began after the end of the first settlement moratorium on September 26.

The moratorium would not apply to construction in East Jerusalem. The U.S. will not ask Israel to extend the new moratorium when it expires.
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, said the Americans had not officially informed the Palestinians about the details of the proposal, “but they know we have a major problem in not including east Jerusalem”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will  put the U.S. plan before Palestinian
decision-makers and call for an immediate session of Arab League officials before announcing an official decision, Erekat said.

In return for an Israeli freeze, the U.S. government would deliver 20 F-35 fighter jets to Israel, a deal worth $3 billion. Moreover, if an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is achieved, the U.S. would sign a comprehensive security agreement with Israel. The U.S. and Israel are to discuss the nature of the new security arrangements in the next few weeks.
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