4:31 PM, Mar 14, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Elliott Abrams writes:
Last week’s meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama must have been tense. Two days before the meeting, the president publicly accused Israel of more “aggressive settlement construction . . . than we’ve seen in a very long time.” Only hours before the meeting, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published a report that cited a massive increase in settlement construction during 2013.
But the president had his facts wrong, and a careful reading of the CBS data proves it. The pace is not “aggressive,” and almost all of the construction took place within the major settlement “blocs” — areas that past negotiations have recognized would remain part of Israel (to be compensated for with land swaps).
The figures are online for anyone to see (the Web site is in Hebrew). Israel built 2,534 housing units last year in the West Bank. Of these, about a quarter (694) were in two major blocs near Jerusalem, Giv’at Ze’ev and Betar Illit, and 537 were in two other major blocs, Modiin Illit and Ma’ale Adumim, also near Jerusalem. These four, which will remain part of Israel, account for half of last year’s construction. They are not isolated outposts but instead are towns with populations in the tens of thousands, near the Green Line, as the 1949 armistice line and 1967 border are known.
The critical figure to monitor is the number of Israeli houses built outside such blocs in areas intended for the future state of Palestine. What the CBS data tell us on that question is that only 908 units were built last year in Israeli townships of 10,000 residents or fewer. And most of those units were built in settlement towns that are part of the major blocs. Units built in areas that would become part of Palestine number in the hundreds — and likely in the low hundreds. Given that about 90,000 Israelis live in the West Bank outside the blocs, that is approximately the rate of natural growth. So much for the president’s claim of “aggressive construction.”
Whole thing here.
Mar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By LEE SMITH
From his place on the podium at AIPAC’s annual policy conference last week, Benjamin Netanyahu surveyed the Middle East. “On the one side stands Israel, animated by the values we cherish,” said the Israeli prime minister. And on the other side are Iran, Bashar al-Assad, and Hezbollah—“the forces of terror . . . steeped in blood and savagery.” There’s a “moral divide,” said Netanyahu, “that separates Israel from its enemies.”
Does Obama Care?10:53 AM, Mar 3, 2014 • By ARYEH TEPPER
In President Obama's blindside of an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, finely timed for Prime Minister Netanyahu's arrival in Washington and the opening of the AIPAC conference, Obama made the following, revealing remark, "I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist."
9:44 AM, Feb 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
German chancellor Angela Merkel is in Israel visiting Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. This photo, apparently taken by photographer Marc Israel Sellem of the Jerusalem Post is making waves:
As Jerusalem Post report Ben Hartman notes on Twitter:
Netanyahu at an IDF base on the Golan Heights treating Syrian civilians attacked by Assad.9:04 AM, Feb 19, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited an IDF base on the Golan Heights that treats wounded Syrian civilians who safely made their way across the border. Netanyahu visited the wounded and then later, surrounded by IDF doctors, nurses and soldiers, addressed the press in this Youtube video:
12:00 PM, Dec 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid Secretary of State John Kerry a backhanded compliment in a recent speech to the Union for Reform Judaism.
12:17 PM, Nov 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the reported U.S.-Iran nuclear deal favors Iran. "Iran gives practically nothing and it gets a hell of a lot," Netanyahu said on CBS this morning. "That's not a good deal."
7:51 AM, Nov 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
A very unusual statement from the Israel prime minister on the eve of a possible nuclear detail between the U.S. and Iran:
"If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone."7:49 PM, Oct 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The text of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech today at the United Nations (via Haaretz):
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Thank you, Mr. President.
12:37 PM, Jul 19, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama slighted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in recorded remarks for the opening of the Maccabiah games in Israel. (Obama's remarks begin at 2:27:24 in the video below.)
2:02 PM, Mar 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Friday, President Barack Obama left Israel, after spending a couple days with the leaders of America's closest ally in the region.
12:15 PM, Mar 21, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
President Obama spoke to the Israeli people today, at the Jerusalem Convention Center. His remarks moved his administration toward the pre-Obama consensus views of the Clinton and Bush administrations, indeed at several points echoing Bush’s 2008 speech to the Knesset. But he presented a view of the chances for peace with the Palestinians that was far rosier than reality permits—or than he may really believe.
11:57 AM, Mar 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a speech to the Israeli people today, President Obama appeared to take a slight jab at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.