Thursday, December 9, 2010

Israel Sees Hopeful Signs in Collapse of Peace Talks


When it became clear a month ago that American and Israeli officials were negotiating a partial, one-time, 90-day Israeli settlement construction freeze in exchange for American military hardware and diplomatic guarantees, few analysts applauded.

Instead, they asked: Would pro-settler Israeli cabinet ministers accede to another freeze? Would the Palestinians accept a freeze that did not include East Jerusalem? And beyond that, how could the two sides solve enough in 90 days to prevent the talks from collapsing and, in the worst case, setting off violence?

With Tuesday’s announcement that the White House had abandoned that approach and was no longer asking for a settlement freeze, it became clear that those questions had grown too big to ignore. Officials said that every element of the deal posed profound difficulties, and that the wisest course was to step back and start over. [...]

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