26 November 09
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze in Judea and Samaria Wednesday, in order to “encourage resumption of peace talks with our Palestinian neighbors.”
Predictably, the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejected it, because it allows Israel to finish buildings under construction and does not include Jerusalem, which PM Netanyahu correctly said “is not a settlement”.
Right-wing parties then attacked Netanyahu for “spitting in the face of those who were promised only a year ago that he would lead a change from the expulsion policies of [former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon.” (MK Yakov Katz of the National Union party).
Certainly Netanyahu could have predicted both of these outcomes. So why did he do it? And why did his cabinet approve it?
Here’s another item:
In an effort to bolster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the face of a potential mass prisoner swap with Hamas, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) “pardoned” over 90 wanted Fatah militiamen on Thursday on condition they refrain from engaging in terrorist activity.
Under the deal, the 92 fugitives – all members of Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing – will be allowed to move freely throughout Palestinian cities within Area A of the West Bank. One of the fugitives included in the deal is Ala Sankara, who was the Al-Aksa commander in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus…
Israel is concerned that a massive prisoner deal with Hamas would undermine Abbas and boost Hamas’s popularity on the Palestinian street ahead of general elections.
In other words, if Hamas gets more terrorists on the street than Fatah, then it will be more popular. And the government wants to support Fatah. It’s hard to see how this will help, considering that Hamas will probably get hundreds, possibly more than a thousand freed, including convicted murderers, in the coming exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. And they can claim that they did by means of ‘resistance’, not collaboration, always a plus in Palestinian circles.