The White House is today denying reports of President Barack Obama having sent a personal letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begging him for a 60 day extension to the settlement freeze and making a wide array of elaborate promises in return.
Mind you, the administration did not strictly deny that the offer was made, only that no letter was sent. Media reports had said that Obama promised no more pushing for further extensions past the 60 days, commitments to veto all “anti-Israel” measures at the UN, and make a number of other major security guarantees.
Obama had come under fire over the report, with the guarantees seeming almost ridiculously generous for a 60 day freeze designed solely to save a peace process that Prime Minister Netanyahu still claims to be committed to.
But the 60 day freeze seems like it might be too late to have anything but a rhetorical effect. The previous settlement freeze expired on Sunday and so there’s no obstacle to new construction approvals in the occupied West Bank. This means the government will likely approve a major new backlog of construction, as they did before the previous freeze, allowing it to continue virtually unabated through the whole period.
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