JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel was prepared to extend a West Bank construction freeze, but the United States withdrew the idea, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
"The United States asked us to consider extending the freeze by three months, and the truth is that we were prepared to do so," Netanyahu reportedly told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.
Reading the early reports about the apparent U.S. decision to give up on its efforts to win a renewed Israeli settlement freeze in return for a big package of incentives, I can't help but wonder if what we're seeing here is simply an administration with absolutely no sense of direction.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Obama administration abandoned efforts to get Israel to freeze its settlements.
"After consulting with the parties, we have determined that a moratorium extension will not at this time provide the best basis for resuming negotiations," a number of media quoted a senior administration official as saying on Tuesday.
The Palestinians left direct talks in late September, just weeks after they restarted, demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extend a partial settlement freeze past its ten-month deadline.
I was scheduling a lifecycle event with a congregant the other day and we ran into a snag having to do with his 27-year-old daughter's vacation schedule. "Oh, sorry rabbi," he said, "that weekend will be impossible. Amy will be trekking in Vietnam."
The Jewish right has always had a special place in its rogues gallery of enemies for Dan Kurtzer, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt. I've always thought that was because his pro-Israel credentials are so strong that his critiques of Israeli policy have to be taken seriously – except, of course, by those who believe Israel is the only nation in the history of the world incapable of making mistakes or pursuing flawed policy.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present to his Cabinet an American proposal to convince Israel to again freeze settlement construction in an effort to resume peace talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu updated the Cabinet on the American offer Sunday during its regular meeting. Netanyahu met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday in New York for seven hours.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says Palestinian statehood is his number one goal, but he apparently doesn't want it bad enough to accept some kind of compromise on a settlement moratorium that will allow talks – the only route to his goal- to continue.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- In the four weeks since direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed, settlement construction has been identified widely as the most immediate obstacle to the survival of negotiations.
In media accounts about the diplomatic standoff over the issue, Israel’s decision not to extend its self-imposed 10-month freeze on settlement building has been portrayed as a slap in the face to the Obama administration, deepening Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and creating more stumbling blocks to a final peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians.