JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Building began in West Bank communities just hours after the expiration of a 10-month settlement construction freeze.
Work on 50 apartments for people removed five years ago from Gush Katif began Monday morning in Ariel. Construction also continued Monday in Revava, Yakir and Kochav Hashachar, Haaretz reported, on homes for which permits had been issued before the freeze began.
Construction is expected to begin Tuesday in several other West Bank communities including Shavei Shomron, Adam, Oranit, Sha'arei Tikva, Kedumim and Karmei Tzur.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- When the fat lady sings on Sept. 26, it may only be an intermission.
That’s the word from an array of Mideast experts across the political spectrum. They are predicting that the seeming intractability between Israel and the Palestinians over whether Israel extends a settlement moratorium beyond its end date will not scuttle the peace talks.
Instead, the observers say, the sides are likely employing the brinksmanship that has come to characterize Middle East peacemaking.
It’s not that unusual for a planned interview to fall through at the last minute.
The three things different about the one that got away from me this week, though, was that it was with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, I didn’t initiate it, and the contact came from a Jewish organization.
The idea was for Abbas, who was coming to New York this week for the UN General Assembly, to improve his image in the American Jewish community, according to Zvika Krieger, senior vice president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Mideast Peace, in Washington.
I was intrigued by this week's Internet buzz about reports talks are underway about a possible trade: convicted spy Jonathan Pollard for a three month extension of Israel's West Bank settlement moratorium. Mostly, I was intrigued because people actually believe this silliness.
The New york Times, citing an Israel reported on Monday that the idea was one of many floated by officials in Prime Minister Netanyahu's office, but some Internet news and blog sites immediately began churning out copy suggesting the “deal” was under serious consideration.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a top aide suggested that a compromise with the Palestinians on a settlement freeze is not in the offing.
Netanyahu, along with top adviser Ron Dermer and Israel's U.S. ambassador, Michael Oren, spoke Monday afternoon on a conference call with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
JTA reviewed the call with a number of participants.
In the minefields of Middle East peace diplomacy, what you see is often not what you get. Over the years both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have become adept at maneuvers that conceal their real goals. The fact is that distinguishing reality from diplomatic and political posturing is difficult in the best of times.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Don't expect a familiar American echo now that West Bank settlers are gearing up to fight the possible extension of Israel’s settlement freeze.
Activists on the left and right in Israel usually get their allies in the American Jewish community to fight for the cause of the day with congressional lobbying and protests to Israeli and American officials.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled he would heed, in part, an appeal from President Obama to continue the settlement freeze.
"Between zero and one there are a lot of possibilities," Haaretz quoted Netanyahu as telling his Cabinet ministers on Sunday. Other media quoted similar remarks from the prime minister, suggesting that he is considering quashing some -- if not all -- of the thousands of building permits set to kick in when the partial moratorium he imposed last fall expires on Sept. 26.