On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again offered a package of US incentives to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to sources, Netanyahu then conveyed the details of the package to the Israel's inner cabinet, the Forum of Seven, for discussion.
In return for an extension of the moratorium on construction of Jewish settlement for another 90 days --- but only in the West Bank and not East Jerusalem, Washington promised:
- Not to ask for another extension in the future;
- To deliver 20 F-35 fighter jets to Israel, a deal worth $3 billion;
- To sign a comprehensive security agreement with Israel, if a peace deal is reached with the Palestinians. (No details of the contents have been revealed, but de-militarisation of Palestine, the security of settlements, Israeli military presence throughout the Jordan Valley, and the continuation of the siege on Gaza are open secrets.)
- To back Israel in every front in United Nations, including curbing any UN action on the Goldstone Report over the Gaza War; blocking anti-Israel UN resolutions concerning the raid on the Freedom Flotilla; defeating international resolutions at the International Atomic Energy Agency aimed at exposing Israel's nuclear program; and building pressure on Iran and Syria over their nuclear and proliferation activities.
So Netanyahu continues to pile up Israel's possible victories. Washington has put even more goodies on the table for the limited step of a limited restriction on new Israeli settlements. Moreover, Netanyahu still has the "recognition of Israel as a Jewish State" card in his hand --- if the Palestinians will not make this commitment in advance of negotiations, the Israeli Prime Minister may say with regret that honest talks cannot resume.