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Report: US dropped demands for East J'lem settlement freeze
Published Thursday 27/08/2009 (updated) 28/08/2009 09:27
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Construction in the illegal settlement of Har Homa, which
Israel considers part of Jerusalem
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The US has dropped a demand that Israel freeze settlement construction in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital, an Israeli newspaper reported on Thursday.

The newspaper Haaretz, citing Israeli officials and Western diplomats, reported that US envoy George Mitchell capitulated to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal during their meeting in London on Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama and his administration have been pressuring Israel to freeze settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories in order to create conditions for renewed peace negotiations. State Department officials have said in the past that their demand includes East Jerusalem.

Israeli occupied and then annexed East Jerusalem during the June 1967 war. Palestinians and the international community do not recognize the legitimacy of Israeli control in the eastern half of the city.

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu offered Mitchell a nine-month freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank excluding Jerusalem. In addition, Netanyahu wants to exclude 2,500 housing units on which construction has already started, and the construction of schools and other structures in the settlements.

In addition, the newspaper said, Israel is demanding that the Palestinian Authority and Arab states make their own concessions in exchange for a freeze. If these measures are not take, the report says, Israel wants guarantees that the US will not oppose an end to the freeze and further settlement construction.

At the end of the London meeting Netanyahu and Mitchell issued a brief Joint Statement saying that they “had a very productive meeting today where the full range of issues was discussed.”

“They agreed on the importance of restarting meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and working toward a comprehensive peace, and that all sides need to take concrete steps toward peace,” the statement continues.

“The Prime Minister and the Senator [Mitchell] made good progress today, and an Israeli delegation will meet Senator Mitchell next week in the United States to continue the conversation,” the statement concluded.

Two of Netanyahu’s aides are due to continue negotiations with Mitchell in Washington next week. Mitchell is also reportedly scheduled to travel to Israel in the second week of September in hopes of finalizing a deal on settlements.
1 ) Sandra Budak / New Zealand
27/08/2009 11:53
This is ridiculous.... absolutely ridiculous..... this is not a peace settlement this is giving Israel everything it asks for..... All the settlements need removing.The settlements are Israels poisoned chalice for the Palestinian people

2 ) Outsider / EU
27/08/2009 12:00
So Israel again negotiates with the US rather than with the Palestinians. Echoes of Sharon/Bush.

3 ) Outsider / England
27/08/2009 19:16
This shows how helpless US is when it comes to dealing with Israel...

4 ) Lese Majeste / USA
27/08/2009 21:30
So Israel will agree to a vaguely worded document that has no oversight or enforcement mechanism in return for doing what they wanted to do in the first place? In return, Israel will give the USA the 'privilege' of wrecking Iran's economy.

5 ) gary / USA
28/08/2009 05:27
1.5 million (25% of the population) muslims live in Israel as full citizens-why can't jews and christians similarly live as non-muslim citizens of the future Palestinian state? If Abbas would accept non-muslims as future citizens of the State, jewish settlements would be a non-issue.

6 ) ahmad / Germany
28/08/2009 12:32
@ gary just ridiculous what you are saying. 1. only 15% of israels population are muslims. 2. it is no secret that arab muslims and even christians in israel are second class citizens. 3. read this instead of talking crap: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=211701&MARK=jews

7 ) Charles / Netherlands
28/08/2009 12:49
I have to agree with Gary, jewish inhabitants would be a great help and advancement for the palestinians, economically, intellectually, scientifically. Unfortunately, all the cries from the liberals and haters scream for a judenrein territory. This, of course cannot be accepted.

8 ) ahamd / Germany
28/08/2009 15:53
@ charles read the link above i sent to gary. no one is asking for a judenrein territory. jews, christians and muslims always lived together in palestine. just take a look on activist groups today. palestinians, jews and internationals all working together.

9 ) samuel / RSA
28/08/2009 16:54
Well said Gary ,let,s stop the nonsencical political correctness and force the Arab world to recognise Israel,s right to exist.The whole of Jerusalem ,with no exceptions ,should remain under Jewish/Israeli jurisdiction ,never mind the detractors.

10 ) Charles / Netherlands
28/08/2009 18:02
dear Ahmad, "international activist group" with jewish communists serve exactly the intention of murdering all the jews in israel. I don?t say this but the Hamas charter does.

11 ) Jordi / Spain
28/08/2009 20:56
The attempts of the US Administration to stop Israel?s building in its own capital are pathetic, to say the least.
Arabs are the true invaders in Palestine, they have absolutely no roots there and their claims on Jerusalem based on the Quranic story look like a bad joke.

12 ) ahmad / Germany
28/08/2009 20:57
@ charles actually the hamas charter doesn't say this. what is written in the charter is just a quote used by hamas. in politics a lot of statements are taken out of context and words put into someones mouth.

13 ) David / Canada
29/08/2009 00:10

The P.A. has already declared that Israeli Jews now living in illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem (including its illegally expanded boundaries) and the West Bank who wish to remain in what will become a Palestinian state are free to do so if they become law-abiding citizens.

14 ) David / Canada
29/08/2009 00:18
Apparently, you would have had no objection to Germany keeping Paris which it conquered in WWII. Jews have no right in law, history or morality to keep Jerusalem. BTW, it was the Canaanite ancestors of Palestinians who founded Jerusalem, 800 yrs before David is alleged to have been born.

15 ) David / Canada
29/08/2009 00:28
The United Kingdom of Israel lasted a mere 72 years. The first Arab presence in Canaan/Palestine predates the Hebrews by millenia. Palestine and Jerusalem were ruled by Muslim Arabs from 638-1085 and after the Crusader occupation, by the Ottoman Muslims from 1517-1918.

16 ) Ian / UK
29/08/2009 09:16
The only problem about Jews in Palestine is settlers don't want any Arabs with them. They want an 'Arab free' Judea and Samaria, and after decades of violent intimidation of Palestinians from behind IDF protection there is no way they want to live accountable for their actions under Palestinian law.

17 ) Filipe / Portugal
29/08/2009 21:05
The Canaanites are an extinct ethnic group which were assimilated into the Israelite population. There is no ethnic group who survive in the world today who predates the Israelites presence in Judea. The Palestinians are Bedouins who migrated to Judea from Arabia- thus their claim to be Arabs.

18 ) David / Canada
30/08/2009 04:10
To quote Dr. Ilene Beatty, perhaps the foremost anthropologist specializing in ancient Palestine: "The Canaanites were first. And when we speak of 'Palestinians' or of the 'Arab' population, we bear in mind their Canaanite origin." ("The Land of Canaan," in From Haven to Conquest, p. 19)

19 ) David / Canada
30/08/2009 04:12
Perhaps if the historian Herodotus and other Greek and Latin writers had not begun referring to Canaan as "Palestine," during the fifth century BCE, modern Palestinians would still be known as Canaanites. Indeed, Kanaan is still a common Palestinian surname.

20 ) David / Canada
30/08/2009 04:19
You have been influenced by the long since debunked "From Time Immemorial" by non-scholar Joan Peters. Dr. Porath, Israel's leading demographic historian, called Peters’ book a "forgery... [that] was almost universally dismissed [in Israel] as sheer rubbish...." (NY Times Nov. 28/85)

21 ) David / Canada
30/08/2009 04:25
Palestinians (Muslims and Christians) consider themselves Arabs because they speak Arabic and while unique in many ways, their culture stems from the Arab culture which dominates the entire region from Morocco to Iraq. So did native Palestinian Jews who were utterly opposed to Zionism.
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