Are the Occupied Territories for lease? If so Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keen on putting in such an offer, according to Israeli Army Radio. Reports have Netanyahu agreeing to the idea, being pushed by the Obama Administration.
Reports from last week had the Obama Administration offering the “lease” as part of part of a deal involving Israel accepting some sort of Palestinian statehood. A number of Israeli cabinet members have bristled at the idea, however, unless the US agrees to make the lease terms longer than a century, saying 99 years or less isn’t worth the bother.
The offer is something of an unusual one, but could serve to provide some justification for Israel’s control over broad swaths of the West Bank beyond military force of arms. But the Palestinian Authority, the presumptive leasors, aren’t so sure on the deal.
Indeed, according to negotiator Mohammed Shatayeh, the Obama Administration hasn’t even broached the subject with the Palestinians, but simply went about trying to sell the idea of Israel leasing the land before finding out if it was available for lease. Shatayeh insists that the Palestinians haven’t discussed the possibility yet, nor did he believe such an offer would be accepted, if indeed President Obama ever asks them.
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