Israel Eyes U.S. Carrot For Stalling Settlement
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is in Jerusalem with the details. Hi, Lourdes.
LOURDES GARCIA: Hi.
HANSEN: Explain what are these initiatives being offered by the Obama administration?
GARCIA: Now, the reason a settlement freeze in the occupied territories is so important is because since the last one expired six weeks ago, talks have been on hold. The Palestinians saying, and the Arab League supporting them, that they won't negotiate while land they want for a future state is being illegally built on.
HANSEN: What's been the reaction to, as you say, the carrot so far?
GARCIA: Beyond all this, Netanyahu needs the support of his cabinet before the rest of anyone else has a say in this to reinstate the freeze. And it's not clear he could get the majority to approve it. So, what happens if this doesn't go through? Well, the peace process essentially collapses is what analysts here are telling me. It's been teetering on the brink for a while now.
HANSEN: Ninety days isn't a lot of time. How much progress can realistically be achieved?
GARCIA: But 90 days is a really short amount of time to basically resolve one of the biggest issues in the peace process. And with this deal, the Americans have basically tied their hands, because they're promising not to ask for another building freeze.
HANSEN: There was a new report released today by Peace Now, the settlement- monitoring group. It shows there's been a building boom in the occupied territories. We have only a few seconds left. How much has been built?
GARCIA: Yeah, the report basically shows that settler groups are building at a furious pace - some 1,600 new buildings have gone up in the occupied territories, basically erasing what the 10-month moratorium had achieved.
HANSEN: NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. She's in Jerusalem. Lourdes, thank you so much.
GARCIA: You're welcome.
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