Yesha council calls targeting of settlement goods ‘economic terror.’
Israeli leaders have reacted harshly to a Palestinian boycott launched last Tuesday against products made in Israeli West Bank settlements, threatening to impose higher taxes on Palestinian-made goods and possibly blocking cash donations from European nations.
“It is unacceptable that the Palestinians are waging an economic war against us with the sense that everything is allowed,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as telling a meeting of his Likud Party Monday.
Jewish leaders expect no breakthroughs from Mitchell’s shuttle diplomacy, but say they could bear modest fruit.
James D. Besser
Rarely have peace negotiations started with such low expectations — but that doesn’t mean the indirect “proximity talks” between Israel and the Palestinians, due to begin as early as this week with new rounds of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, are doomed to failure.
While suggesting that major breakthroughs are unlikely, many analysts say the talks could prove fruitful, but only if the Obama administration understands the limitations of what the parties themselves can reasonably be expected to do.
Israel’s standing in the United Nations continues to deteriorate as the Palestinian voice grows stronger. The overwhelming vote by the UN General Assembly Tuesday (124 to 4) upgrading the Palestinian’s status gives Palestinian representatives the power for the first time to raise issues regarding the peace process before the 185-member international body.
Jewish leaders divided on what Obama should stress in his GA speech.
President Barack Obama’s speech to the Jewish Federations of North America (formerly UJC) General Assembly next week, his first to a Jewish group since his inauguration, could be a turning point in his low standing in Israeli polls and help blunt the skepticism of many Jewish leaders here about his Middle East policies.
(Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also speak, an embarrassment of media riches for the group.)
More is at stake in D.C. meeting for Netanyahu than for Obama, observers say.
The smart money (is there such a thing when it comes to American presidents and Israeli prime ministers?) says, No friction.
The atmospherics (the Israeli prime minister won’t utter the words “two-state solution” and his foreign minister wants to ignore prior accords, while the American president wants an end to settlement building) say, Friction galore.