November 25, 2009 Netanyahu Announces Settlement Freeze, Shalit Deal On Hold

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

December 7, 2009 Settlers Continue to Fight Settlement Freeze- Iran Update

The news in Israel was dominated by the pictures of religious high school girls trying to block the serving of injuntions on buildings in the west bank. Those demonstrations tonight extended to trying to disrupt traffic on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. These actions are reminiscent of the events leading up to the pull-out from Gaza. Many Israelis had sympathy for the settlers, but the settlers in Gaza were not able to gain any serious support from the Israeli public at large. When leaders who have been identified by their support of the settler movement in the past, like Sharon or Netanyahu, it becomes almost impossible for the settler demonstrators to gain any real support-- especially when the underlying statement that Netanyhu’s action seem to saying, that stopping building in the settlements is a very small price to pay to gain closer support from the US and Western Europe on the question of Iran- which is an existential threat.

Interestingly, top Israeli officials have been making noises in the last few days that they are very satisfied with close working relationship with the US administration on Iran, and that the Obama administration is doing exactly what it promised, in terms of gaining support for a much tougher sanctions on the regime, which they expect the United States to push to implement after January 1 of the year. In interviews on the Sunday talk shows, both Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs and the General Petraus, the Commander of the Central Command addressed the issue and made it clear that time was running out. In case anyone missed what they said, the Armed Service Press Service made sure to send out a release today on Iran quoting both of the them. Finally, in Iran itself, large scale student demonstrations took place today. Its clear that the Iranian government has not been able to completely silence their critics. How to put pressure, crippling pressure on the regime, while at the same time strengthening the opposition will be the only way to stop the regime. A very difficult tight rope.

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