Aug 26, 2009 Shalit Negotiations, Netanyahu and Settlement Freeze

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1July09
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

Aug 26, 2009 Shalit Negotiations, Netanyahu and Settlement Freeze

The Israeli news is full of talk of progress on negotiations for the release of Gliad Shalit. The major change is the introduction of the Germans as mediators. These are the same Germans who brought Israel the deal to exchange Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar for the bodies of Israeli soldiers. Supposedly progress is being made; clearly Hamas needs a "victory". On the other hand, keeping Shalit keeps them in the news. The major issues surround the question of where some of the released terrorist will go. The major divide between Hamas and Israel, on this matter rests on the fate of 120 terrorists who are responsible for the worst attacks on Israel. Ultimately, the question is whether Netanyahu decided to agree to release these prisoners or not. Not an easy decision to say the least.

Netanyahu, it seems, has decided to formally announce a freeze on settlement building( the length is still in dispute). That announcement will come in two weeks and will pave the way for a three way meeting between Obama, Abbas, and Netanyahu at the UN. It will also be met with a major symbolic action by Saudi Arabia. It seems Obama managed to extract from concession from the Saudis. The result will be the beginning of a process, a process that Netanyahu thinks is important. Will the process lead anywhere? According to sources, Netanyahu's book, (which was destroyed before being printed), states his view succinctly: Those who wish to make peace can’t (are not strong enough) and those who are able to make peace do not want to. Most probably an accurate assessment, but some believe negotiations sometimes create their own dynamic. This is possible but not likely now.

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