Settlers shift pressure from Netanyahu to Obama

ZOA director endorses settlers' decision to pressure Obama through English-language media campaign.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 14, 2010 01:47
2 minute read.
MK Ayreh Eldad.

setllers 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip changed its tactics on Monday when it decided to shift pressure to end the 10-month construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to US President Barack Obama.

The decision came after Obama revealed over the weekend that he had asked Netanyahu to continue the moratorium and then the prime minister hinted that the freeze could partially continue. The settlers said they realized that Obama holds the key to the decisions that will be made before the freeze is set to end at midnight between September 25 and 26.

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“Obama is the most hostile American president toward Israel in recent history,” council director-general Naftali Bennett said. “He’s trying to twist Netanyahu’s arm into tearing apart the Land of Israel and risking Israel’s very existence. But we’re not a puppet state that Obama can control. The overwhelming majority of Americans understand that Israel is a tower of democracy in an ocean of radical Islam.

“We’re asking the American Congress to tell Obama to respect Israel and respect its independence and not make us commit national suicide,” Bennett said.

Activists will begin their effort with ads in English-language newspapers, including The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday and key American media outlets on Wednesday.

“A Message to the American President and Members of the United States Congress,” the ads read. “The Ministers of the Government of Israel and the Members of the Knesset below have all publicly declared their support for a complete and unconditional end to the ‘building freeze.’” The ad includes past quotes from ministers and MKs about ending the freeze, including Netanyahu, who said in December, “I want to make this clear – this freeze is a temporary, one-time affair. We’ll resume building as we did before.”

Jeff Daube, director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Israel office, said the ZOA was working hard to ensure that members of Congress were made fully aware of the need to end the freeze on time and that Netanyahu should know that if he kept his promise to end the freeze, his decision would be supported by US leadership in the legislative branch and a significant majority of Americans.

“Pressure from President Obama to impose a continued freeze is a good idea,” Daube said. “I just disagree with his target – Netanyahu. The Obama administration should pressure [Mahmoud] Abbas, instead, to permanently freeze the PA’s outrageous, anti-peace behavior, starting with incitement in its media and schools, racist pronouncements calling for a Judenrein Palestinian state, denied recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, and rocket fire and other acts of terror directed at Israeli civilians.”


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