U.S. warns Israel of financial sanctions over security fence
Sunday, August 03, 2003 Av 5, 5763
U.S. warns of financial sanctions over security fence
By Ze'ev Schiff
The U.S. State Department has prepared a proposal,
awaiting the approval of President George W. Bush,
that calls for cuts in loan guarantees to Israel
matching its outlays for the construction of the
security fence east of the Green Line.
The proposal also calls for cuts
in the loan guarantees matching
the sums spent by Israel on
bypass roads in the West Bank,
because the State Department
views the roads as an effort at
establishing facts on the
ground while the two sides are
negotiating within the
parameters of the road map.
The State Department and Secretary of State
Colin Powell, in particular, have emphasized
that the opposition in Washington to the
outlines of the security fence continues,
contrary to the efforts of the Prime Minister's
Office in Jerusalem to suggest that an
understanding has been reached on the matter
between Bush and Ariel Sharon.
In addition to a press conference after Sharon
departed Washington, Powell also gave an
interview to Maariv reporter in which he
reiterated that the U.S. did not agree with
Israel on the outline of the security fence.
The State Department's opposition to the Israeli
security fence is based on the view that it may
result in a worsening of relations with the
Palestinians and endangers the fragile nature
of the cease-fire and the continuation of
The opposition to the fence is also a response
to a disdain for Israel's tactic of
establishing facts on the ground, a method used
in the past following the Oslo Accords and also
after the Mitchell Report in 2001.
Sources in Washington say that the proposal
calls for cuts in the precise amounts that
Israel expends on the construction of the
security fence east of the Green Line, over
Palestinian territory that is the subject of
negotiations. In a sense, the formula is based
on a dollar-for-dollar basis in the loan
It is still not clear how the U.S. will make the
calculation in relation to the outlays and the
territory confiscated east of the Green Line.
It is also doubtful whether the American
sanctions will include the fencing of
individual settlements in the territories.
Sources in the State Department insist that now
is the time for Washington to press Israel on
about bypass roads, used to avoid
concentrations of Palestinian populations in
the territories, and in the process confiscate
land in the West Bank.
Prior to his departure for Washington earlier
last week, Sharon said that he would not agree
to any changes in the outline of the fence. But
he promised Bush that the Palestinians living
by the fence would not suffer because of its
Some sources here suggest the government should
avoid further conflict with the U.S. on the
fence and concentrate on fencing various
settlements individually. In any case, the
sources say, the budget for the completing the
security fence is no where to be found.