The failure of the peace talks was easily foreseen. Obama encumbered them with his ingenious prerequisite: that Israel stop building in the settlements. Never before had such a condition been put forth. The Israelis finally conceded the point with a ten-month moratorium. The American president is, after all, the American president. For nine months the Israelis did no construction. And for the same nine months the Palestinians did no talking. The tenth month was spent haggling.Israel is eager to talk. Bibi Netanyahu will have enough trouble from the right wing of his cabinet (some of whom I think of as neo-fascists) in any negotiations. He simply cannot bring his simply reactionary colleagues to heel on another period of no work in the settlements without some substantial exchange.
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