In an interview with Israeli Army Radio today, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said U.S. promises were needed in writing before the Cabinet votes on a 3 month settlement freeze.The security cabinet will not vote on a United States proposal for a three month settlement freeze until the Obama administration’s promises are officially delivered to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in writing, Deputy PM Meridor said on Tuesday.
Meridor stated that there were four major promises that he expected the US to fulfill in exchange for the freeze extension. Firstly, that the three month freeze would not be followed by any additional U.S. requests for further moratoriums in the future. Secondly, that the U.S. would use its position as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council to block Palestinian attempts to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state in the international body. Third, a military package provided to Israel by the U.S. that would allow Israel to maintain a military advantage over its neighbours. Finally, an assurance that the issue of borders would not be discussed independently of other core issues, such as security and the right of return.
Yesterday Likud Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin voiced his opposition to a renewed settlement freeze, stating that renewing the construction moratorium for three months would ‘definitely’ lead to U.S. calls for an additional freeze in the future.
Begin, believed to be the man who can best rally the Likud’s right wing, said in an interview with Army Radio that ‘if no agreement is reached – the Americans will ask us to continue the freeze, because they have no other solution.’