July 2, 2009 Merkel Calls for End of Settlement Building

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1July09
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

July 2, 2009 Merkel Calls for End of Settlement Building

The major news in Israel today was the report of the foreign policy speech delivered yesterday to the German parliament by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the speech, Merkel called on Israel to stop building in the settlements, stating that the building was an obstacle to a two state solution. Merkel joins a long list of world leaders who have called for an end to Israel’s building in the settlements. Minister Benny Begin, a strong supporter of continued settlement growth was interviewed on London and Kirshenbaum tonight. Begin was asked whether Israel shouldn’t respond positively to this growing worldwide request. Begin’s answer, as expected, was a clear no. On one level, he said, no one should be able to tell Jews where in the Land of Israel Jews can build. He then went on to make the argument that the main problem is that the Palestinians see the two state solution as a first stage, in a larger overall plan; and he went on to make the argument I mentioned earlier in the week (that if the Palestinians were unwilling to accept the offer of former PM Olmert, they would never be willing to reach peace.)

There was an interesting op-ed article in today's Wall Street Journal by Alan Dershowitz, entitld Has Obama Turned Against Israel. Dershowitz's opinion is that as long as Obama does not change US policy regarding such matters as the Iranian bomb his pressure on Israel regarding the settlements is not a real change of policy.

There is also an interesting article in the New York Times by Richard Cohen, entitled: Let Usurpers Writhe. Cohen spent the last few months calling on the US government to engage the Iranians. In this article he has dramatically changed his position.

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