Azerbaijan, Baku, June 11/ Trend , U.Sadikhova /
Despite the fact that Israel and the United States hold contradictory positions on the issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, the analysts do not exclude the possibility of a compromise between Israel and the United States in this regard.
During his speech at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to speak of the future plans of the government in the peace process with the Palestinians. Netanyahu will touch upon the issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan river, as well as support the plan of Middle East settlement based on "two states for two peoples", Israeli Haaretz Newspaper reported.
U.S. President Barack Obama urges Israel to freeze construction of settlements, which are a stumbling block in negotiations with the Palestinians.
The Palestinian Administration has refused to resume peace talks with Israel unless settlement construction is frozen.
During his two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy, the U.S. special envoy for the Middle East, George Mitchell, confirmed the position of Obama Administration on the construction of Jewish settlements, but added that this does not cause differences in the relations between the United States and Israel.
However, analysts do not exclude the possibility of a compromise between Israel and the United States on the construction of settlements. It is considered in Israel that the Netanyahu government intends to consider the obligations of the former U.S. Administration on the issue of Jewish construction.
"The settlements the USA committed itself, Bush Administration made a commitment to allow Israel to build in a big blocks of the cities on the West Bank. Even the Palestinians do not insist on controlling them, they want back the same territory. So they would get some territorial compensation," said Eytan Gilboa, professor on international relations.
"I think Netanyahu will say: if the USA wants Israel, wants this government of Israel to adhere this commitments, it has to adhere to its previous commitments," Gilboa, analyst on U.S.-Israeli relations at Begin-Sadat Center, told Trend in a telephone conversation. He does not exclude that Netanyahu, based on previous commitments of the United States and understanding, will accept the demand to stop all settlements.
In total more than 280,000 Israelis live in more than 120 settlements on the West Bank, occupied during the 1967 war. Other 200,000 live in East Jerusalem, which from the point of view of international law is also considered occupied territories, RIA Novosti reported.
During a meeting with his U.S. counterpart Robert Gates in Washington, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack spoke of the possibility of finding an alternative way to solve the problem of the settlements, Haaretz reported. Israel stopped the expansion of settlements at the requirement of the USA, but at the same time considers other ways of solution, not infringing upon anybody's interests, said Barack.
Gilboa, who worked as an advisor at the office of the Prime Minister, does not exclude that Netanyahu will in future raise the issues of understandings formerly reached between the Bush administration and Sharon administration.
However, even if the possibility of a compromise is unlikely, the U.S. demands to stop construction of settlements can be effective only after the Obama administration takes concrete steps, said Mohammad Yaghi, commentator of Palestinian Al Ayyam newspaper.
"The U.S. position is very clear: they want to see a complete freeze to all kind of settlements. The question is that will the U.S. uses its leverage to force Israel to comply with its position or not?, Yaghi told Trend via e-mail. - If the Obama administration is serious in its words, it must match his administration deeds on the ground".
Yaghi added that to convince Arab and Muslim world of the seriousness of Obama's words in Cairo, Washington must begin to act concretely.
Speaking from the tribune of the Cairo University, the U.S. President urged Israel to freeze construction of settlements and called upon Israelis and Palestinians to begin immediate negotiations based on the "road map", which envisages establishing an independent Palestinian state.
Gilboa considers that Netanyahu's words that he agrees upon self-determination of the Palestinians will be enough for Obama administration to claim that the Israeli position is providing enough basis for the peace in the Middle East.
"I think Netanyahu will give Obama more room for U.S. peace plan in the Middle East, said Gilboa. - It claims that his position becomes more flexible and it is a good chance to renew the negotiations
The U.S. President sent through Mitchell a new plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, details of which will be announced in July, Haaretz reported.
Observers believe that Obama intends to propose new principles in the negotiations, based on the "road map" adopted in 2003 by the Quartet on the Middle East (Russia, U.S., EU, UN).
The Israeli government, which rejected the peace principles in Annapolis, also agree to negotiate on the basis of the "road map". According to it, the peace process must end in the step-by-step creation of an independent Palestinian state. The important requirement of the paper is the refusal of the Palestinian groups from the military resistance to Israel.
Nicola Pratt, Lecturer in Comparative Politics & International Relations at the University of East Anglia, also considers that there may be a possibility of a compromise between Israel and the USA on the construction of settlements. This will depend on Washington's ability to convince the Israeli government of the possibility and benefits of wide-scale Arab normalization, Pratt told Trend via e-mail.
If the Israeli government is convinced of the benefits for its own security that will derive from Arab normalization (at the official level), then I think it can deal with any possible opposition from the settler movement (which is a minority within Israeli society), she said.
The total number of settlers on the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, reaches half a million. According to Israeli media, the ruling coalition of Israel intends to expand settlements by 40 percent.
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Israel can find alternative solution for problem of Jewish settlements
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 11/ Trend , U.Sadikhova /