The New York Times published two articles over the weekend with almost identical headlines. The first, by Mark Landler, quotes an “official” (with no clue as to which government, Israeli or US, that official represents) characterizing $3 billion worth of military aid to Israel as contingent on a signed peace agreement. The second article, posted later in the day by Ethan Bonner, unequivocally identifies its sources as “Israeli officials”, who spin things quite differently. Their description of the terms under which US taxpayers would provide Israel with an “extra” $3 Billion payout looks like nothing so much as a foolish bribe: $33 million a day for a 90-day moratorium on settlements, settlements which are, moreover, all illegal under International law!
So what is actually being proposed here? Incentives for a quick dash toward a final settlement on borders? Or a diplomatic blunder that will give the state of Israel more time to continue establishing “facts on the ground”, “facts” that, like Britain’s imperial settlements in Northern Ireland in the 17th century, and the Ottomans’ in the Balkans dating as early as the 14th, will succeed in only one thing– inflaming regional and global conflict for many more generations to come?
We should all stay tuned.
(Relevant excerpts are highlighted below)
By MARK LANDLER
WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has agreed to push his cabinet to freeze most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, an official briefed on talks between the United States and Israel said Saturday evening.
In return, the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth $3 billion that would be contingent on the signing of a peace agreement, the official said. …
By ETHAN BRONNER
… The details that have been made public so far include 20 fighter jets…
Israeli officials said the planes, worth some $3 billion, were part of an American commitment to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. They would be provided if the 90-day freeze were agreed but irrespective of a final signed deal with the Palestinians. Other, even more far-reaching security guarantees, were still being discussed and would be contingent on successful peace talks.