Israeli Rejection of Settlement Freeze Spells Trouble for Obama’s Cairo Outreach
If President Barack Obama thought he could deliver the promise of a few Israeli concessions during his upcoming Cairo speech to the Muslim world, he was sorely mistaken.
Far more than his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama has been leaning hard on Israel to halt its expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and to declare its readiness to accept a “two-state solution,” meaning an Israeli and a Palestinian state living side by side. But the mood in Jerusalem is defensive. At a Sunday cabinet meeting, Israeli ministers openly defied the U.S. demands. Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz told Army Radio, “I want to make it clear that the current Israeli government will not accept in any way the freezing of legal settlement activity in Judea and Samaria (The West Bank).”