Four papers discuss various issues related to the US
proposal for extending the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria for an additional 90 days: Yediot Aharonot suggests that “Even though the Obama administration has made several mistakes in its handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they are not suckers in the White House, not that much. Either the assurances that Netanyahu received are worth less than the giant headlines in yesterday’s newspapers or what Netanyahu is being asked to give in exchange is much more significant than it appears.” The author believes that the Prime Minister is saying ‘Yes’ now because he is assuming that the Palestinians will eventually say ‘No’ but warns that Abu Mazen might just say ‘Yes’ given that he has admitted privately that he erred in rebuffing former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Yisrael Hayom believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu has adopted one of two approaches: “One is that given the process of delegitimization against Israel, Netanyahu has decided to go far in the peace negotiations in order to persuade the world yet again that even given the major concessions of Ehud Barak (2000) and Ehud Olmert (2009), the Palestinian Authority is not a partner for an agreement and does not aspire to end the conflict…The second is that cooperation with the US is so vital to Israel’s security and existence, and not just in the short term, that in exchange for diplomatic assistance and two major security packages, he is acceding to its demand and extend the freeze.” The author believes that even though both approaches are fraught with considerable political risk, which could lead to the break-up of his coalition, the Prime Minister “has no real choice but to take the risk.”
The Jerusalem Post contends that with Israel seemingly in step with the recent US proposition regarding a three-month freeze on building in Judea and Samaria, “it is Abbas who should come under pressure to compromise – and to take positions that give his people, and ours, the opportunity for genuine reconciliation and a secure future.”
Haaretz states that “The decision required from Netanyahu is clear: Accept the U.S. proposal, freeze settlement construction immediately, and determine the border on the basis of the new security understandings with the United States – even if such a decision requires a different coalition.” The editor opines: “Any other decision he might make will damage Israel and undermine the slim chance that remains for an agreement with the Palestinians.”
Ma’ariv refers to Thomas Friedman’s latest column in The New York Times and complains that he “does not stop attacking Prime Minister Netanyahu even as he compliments Arab dictators.” The author suggests that “Recently, Friedman’s attacks on the Israeli Prime Minister have taken on a personal, even brutal, tone,” and contrasts this with Friedman’s “moderate and cautious,” words regarding various un-elected Arab dictators. The paper says that Friedman’s “worldview is identical to that of the extreme Left in the State of Israel,” and reminds its readers that he is but one of very many American journalists, “a not insignificant portion of which, such as – for example – from The Wall Street Journal, think opposite to the way he does and ask where he and the Palestinians were for the first nine months of the freeze.”