Did the Obama administration make an offer Israel simply cannot refuse? In exchange for a one-time-only 90-day partial settlement construction freeze...
...the U.S. is offering Israel 20 hi-tech fighter jets worth $3 billion and promises to support it in the United Nations. Right now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing his cabinet to vote ‘yes’ on the deal. The U.S. hopes to revive the peace talks which came to a screeching halt in September - when Israel re-started construction of its settlements. (Video: RT)
A France 24 correspondent focuses on what the Obama administration has at stake in the expensive offer.
CORRESPONDENT: “Now, of course, the U.S. probably thinks that it’s going to work, otherwise they wouldn’t even put the offer on the table. If there is a failure, honestly we don’t know what would be next, if the Americans have another alternative to put on the table. So this is a very, very important proposal and of course the stakes are pretty high now for the Obama administration...”
The New York Times explains the logic behind the offer -- saying 90 days could be just enough for Israel and Palestine to agree on some border issues that are crucial to further peace talks.
“...they hoped enough progress could be made on exchanging settlement blocks for other land, as well as other significant issues, so that a settlement freeze would no longer be a Palestinian demand for moving forward.”
But, a writer for Foreign Policy says he’s skeptical about just that -- saying, Palestinians will see a problem in the deal -- namely, the exclusion of East Jerusalem -- which they see as the future capital of a Palestinian state.
”The Israeli move last week to escalate construction in East Jerusalem was a pretty clear warning shot that both the settlement freeze agreement and any 'borders first' deal would exclude the Jerusalem area. That's going to be a problem, and it's hard to see how it can be avoided.”
RT’s Rory Suchet is also critical of the proposal, calling it ‘bribery’ and questions the role of an arms deal in the context of peace talks.
SUCHET: “...Now with the new deal, it’s effectively buying Israel to make a step forward. Are we, uh, are we talking bribery here? ... What kind of peace process is this, if the peace broker, namely Washington, is making weapons deals with one side of the conflict, behind the other’s back?!”
But, a blog on the Economist suggests the Obama administration isn’t bribing Israel, as much as it’s... blackmailing it.
“Until this weekend, most people assumed that Israel enjoyed an unconditional American promise to maintain its military edge, and a nearly unconditional promise to support it in the United Nations. Now it seems that President Obama is making the continuation of some of these things conditional...”
According to Fox News, the Israeli cabinet may reach an agreement about the proposal as early as Wednesday.