Monday, March 31, 2008

Construction in Israel
by Nadene Goldfoot
News of Israel's building plans after Condoleeza Rice left has hit the wires. Why is Israel defying the US by promising not to build and then stating that they are building?
It's all in understanding what was promised. Both sides still have a different interpretation of what's allowed to happen.
One of the coalition members in the Israeli Knesset is Shas, who wants building to proceed. Netanyahu has asked Shas to leave the coalition. However, Olmert promised them 800 new housing units in Betar Illit in order to keep them in his coalition. Netanyahu and Olmert belong to different parties, so they have a difference of opinion.
Olmert explained at a Kadima meeting that building in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as well as in the major settlements will continue as they are in Israel under any agreement with the Palestinians. He said that Israel is not building new settlements.
Netanyahu felt the government was freezing construction in the settlements and not allowing their growth. He said Palestinian settlement was being encouraged. He also voiced that soon Jerusalem and the security of the country will be in danger.
Condoleeza Rice had said no expansion. Did this mean more settlements or more homes? I take it that Israel translated the term to mean no more settlements. Having taught English in Israel for 5 years, one does need to be careful with terms used.
Meanwhile, our papers are coming out stating that Israel is planning on building homes on Palestine's future state. This isn't how Israel sees it at all. The numbers I have seen for new homes are 1,400 to 1,700 in the American press. Rice also promised that she will be more "vigilant in monitoring" Israel, like Big Sister is watching! So we have Rice giving the orders to Olmert and Olmert and Netanyahu sparring with each other.
The rockets keep flying into Israel while terrorists keep attempting to creep in, but are stopped by the roadblocks Rice wants taken down.
Reference: Jerusalem Post
USA Today
CBS News
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