Dead end: U.S. drops demand for Israeli settlement freeze in ongoing peace talks

posted at 7:33 pm on December 7, 2010 by Allahpundit

Could be the end of this latest futile round of the peace process, with the next futile round to begin at a date as yet undetermined. Sometime in The One’s second term, perhaps?

The surprise announcement came nearly a month after Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed in principle on 90-day settlement moratorium extension in exchange for a package of incentives from Washington.

Since that time the US has held intensive talks with both Israel and the PA about the precise details of the incentives and what would happen during the three months of negotiations during the freeze. What emerged, according to diplomatic officials, was a gap between what Israel thought could be achieved during this time, and Palestinian expectations.

The Palestinians, according to Israeli sources, wanted the talks to focus on border issues, in the expectation that this issue would be solved within three months.

Israel, however, refused to commit to this timetable, arguing that it would not talk about borders without talking about security agreements, and that it would not agree to ceding land without knowing in advance what security arrangements would be put in place when it withdrew. Among security arrangements Israel is demanding are an Israeli presence on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state, and that the future state be demilitarized.

The fear is that even if the freeze went into effect, the parties might not be able to get their priorities straight — which, one would think, would have been something agreed to before talks ever began — and the resulting collapse in talks would actually make the situation worse. Also, and as always, there’s a dispute over east Jerusalem: The Palestinians want settlement-building frozen there too but Israel wants the U.S. to guarantee that it would be exempt from the three-month moratorium. No such guarantee was made and so here we are, with Obama and Hillary scrambling to find some sort of inducement to keep the talks from collapsing. How they’re going to do that without reaching an agreement on east Jerusalem first, I have no idea. In fact, a Palestinian negotiator said last week that if settlement construction resumed in the city, they’d start pushing for international recognition of a Palestinian state whether Israel and the U.S. like it or not. So this isn’t necessarily a situation where The One can now walk away; the Palestinian Authority, if it chooses to, could force the issue depending upon which nations are willing to antagonize Israel and America by formally recognizing it. Quite a dilemma for Egypt and Jordan, for starters.

Elsewhere in Middle East negotiations, the latest round of nuclear talks between the west and Iran are a big zero too. I hope for his sake that START gets ratified, because that might be the last foreign policy “victory” for a good long while.


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My personal guess:

The Israelis will – at most – be delayed in getting what they want. No US president has ever had the spine to do more, not even Ronald freaking Reagan.

If Obama has enough brain cells to fill a teaspoon, he’ll quietly slink away and focus on a battle he has a snowball’s chance in heck of winning.

Dark-Star on December 7, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Maybe 0bama will give us everything.
Merry CHRISTMAS.

OmahaConservative on December 7, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Miss Carter yet?

SlaveDog on December 7, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Wasn’t there an offer of a squadron of F-35 Lightning II aircraft offered?

It seems the Israelis determined that these aircraft are still a while from deployment, and the odds of a future, friendlier US Administration hooking them up at that time are good, so why concede anything now for that?

Those Israelis outsmarted Obama and his people on that one.

Brian1972 on December 7, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I hope for his sake that START gets ratified, because that might be the last foreign policy “victory” for a good long while.

I hope for America’s sake it is not ratified.

Wethal on December 7, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Good.

Vera on December 7, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Any chance we could have the leaders of Israel and Hamas sit down together and “return to adventure” (as the ads on the page remind us)?

;-)

PappyD61 on December 7, 2010 at 7:43 PM

If Obama has enough brain cells to fill a teaspoon, he’ll quietly slink away and focus on a battle he has a snowball’s chance in heck of winning.

Dark-Star on December 7, 2010 at 7:37 PM

How about a diplomatic battle with little country like Honduras over the constitutionality of its ouster of its president? Oh, wait….

Wethal on December 7, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Damn…I’m sure glad we’ve got “Smart Power” running foreign policy these days.

coldwarrior on December 7, 2010 at 7:47 PM

PappyD61 on December 7, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Any chance we might see Bibi and Barry in the Octagon?

(I can dream, can’t I?)

paragon27x on December 7, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Good. Bammie very foolishly put Jewish settlements in the West Bank on the table out of the blue as a bargaining chip, and the shocked ‘palestinians’ gladly accepted that move. Just because Bammie now has dropped his demand doesn’t mean the ‘palestinians’ will be willing to as well.

The best thing that could happen is for Bammie to realize he has failed miserably and leave it alone for the next president, hopefully one more competent and not beholden to the Helen Thomas wing of the democratic party.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 7:50 PM

The Palestinians have zero interest in peace, and it’s obvious to anyone who looks at the situation with an IQ above zero, so the administration’s insistence on focusing on Israel and the Palis is insane. Even Clinton’s peacenik former advisors realize that.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 7, 2010 at 7:51 PM

This puzzles me every time it comes up. How can a President commit to giving away stuff to a foreign country? A squadron of F35s would consist of a dozen or more planes, at a current estimated cost of $140 million per plane.

So this offer is (was) worth nearly $2 billion. For a three month freeze. With no Congressional say in the matter, apparently.

GnuBreed on December 7, 2010 at 7:51 PM

It is very clear, if you follow the Israeli and Arab press, that the Palestinians’ demands have not changed since 1988 – in fact Abbas recently boasted just that in Arabic to a Palestinian audience. Those demands would never be acceptable to Israel since they would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. A recent survey indicated that a majority of those Palestinians who are willing to accept 2 states would do so with the expectation that “the struggle” would continue, i.e., they would not abandon their objective of destroying Israel. While Hamas’ leader Ismael Haniyeh has been telling the western press that he would abide by a two-state agreement that was accepted by “the people”, Hamas would “continue the struggle”, i.e., continue to terrorize Israel with the aim of destroying her as Hamas’ charter says are its aims.

Abbas has recently refused to recognize that Israel is a Jewish state and says that he will never recognize it as such. That means that he doesn’t accept the basic concept that Obama thinks underlies the negotiations – the idea of two states for two peoples. In the absence of acceptance of that fundamental premise, there will never be a settlement.

Abbas has already been seeking recognition of “Palestine” as a state, in violation of the Oslo accords, and has in fact received it in recent days from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the south American “triangle” of Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda and other Islamists is located where these 3 countries meet. But I doubt it.

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Oh, one other thing – I wonder what form the revenge Obama will undoubtedly want from Israel for making him look bad will take. I suspect we’ll find out soon, and I doubt it will be pretty. Obama isn’t done with Netanyahu and Israel yet, and I think he’s going to do his darnedest to screw Israel over during his current term.

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Aw, c’mon, do you think being “I’m the one you’ve been waiting for” is easy?
You try it some time.
Bomb throwers.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on December 7, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Turns out there is quite a lot that is above Obama’s pay grade.

pedestrian on December 7, 2010 at 7:54 PM

This puzzles me every time it comes up. How can a President commit to giving away stuff to a foreign country? A squadron of F35s would consist of a dozen or more planes, at a current estimated cost of $140 million per plane.

So this offer is (was) worth nearly $2 billion. For a three month freeze. With no Congressional say in the matter, apparently.

GnuBreed on December 7, 2010 at 7:51 PM

As I understand it, there was never any commitment at all. And the talk wasn’t about “giving it away” but allowing Israel to buy them.

Nice way to treat an ally surrounding by enemies.

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Turns out there is quite a lot that is above Obama’s pay grade.

pedestrian on December 7, 2010 at 7:54 PM

LOL! +1000

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 7:56 PM

On a side note!
=================

Helen Thomas’ alma mater pulls her diversity award due to anti-Semitic comments

Wayne State University drops the award after Thomas said the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street are owned by Zionists.

http://www.haaretz.com/

canopfor on December 7, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Turns out there is quite a lot that is above Obama’s pay grade.

pedestrian on December 7, 2010 at 7:54 P

Sadly you and I knew that a lonnngggg time ago.

CWforFreedom on December 7, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Bibi, watch the other hand with bho. God be with you Israel.
L

letget on December 7, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Latest update 21:02 07.12.10
Israel-U.S. talks on renewed settlement freeze reach dead end

Senior Israeli official says U.S., Israeli governments to announce that negotiations have failed, two sides to find new ways to advance Mideast peace process.
=======================================

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-u-s-talks-on-renewed-settlement-freeze-reach-dead-end-1.329382
***********************

Another FAILURE!!

canopfor on December 7, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Prof Miao,

That’s what I thought too. I read that Netanyahu requested but couldn’t get anything in writing. Smart of him.

Guess the not so great negotiator Obama thought Bibi would bite with just a verbal.

Sheesh.

marybel on December 7, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Palestine is a small country. They pose no threat to us.

BobMbx on December 7, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Guess the not so great negotiator Obama thought Bibi would bite with just a verbal.

Sheesh.

marybel on December 7, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Israel had an understanding with Bush43, only mentioned informally in a letter, that it could build within settlement boundaries, but not expand them. Obama rejected that when he took office.

So Netanyahu knew to get it in writing with the US, formally, this time.

Wethal on December 7, 2010 at 8:14 PM

Palestine is a small country.

BobMbx on December 7, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Palestine is an imanginary country.
The inhabitants of said ‘place’ are ethnically Jordanian.
They should go back there.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 7, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Is it time to allow Israel and South Korea to handle their own business without American involvement in these interminable kabuki dances? If all parties were confronted with the understanding that America will sit attentively on the sidelines in these disputes but may intervene abruptly and solely at its discretion using the means and force that it alone determines have a salutary and sobering effect these matters? Who would be bold and powerful enough to counter such a policy beyond rhetorical attack? Actually, no one. The administration must either show that some other policy is efficacious or bring these maters to a head.

Mason on December 7, 2010 at 8:25 PM

So Netanyahu knew to get it in writing with the US, formally, this time.

Wethal on December 7, 2010 at 8:14 PM

Obama will go down as being the president who ensured that the America’s allies can’t trust the US, even when they have an agreement in writing. The letter exists but Obama chose not to honor it, a step by an American president that may be unprecedented and will have a long-standing negative impact.

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 8:26 PM

The administration must either show that some other policy is efficacious or bring these maters to a head.

Mason on December 7, 2010 at 8:25 PM

What does the US gain by bringing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ‘to a head’, i.e., by fomenting regional war in the Middle East over that issue? Particularly when Iran is not sitting quietly on the sidelines but waiting for the opportunity to extend its hegemony throughout the Arab world?

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 8:29 PM

Nice way to treat an ally surrounding by enemies.

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 7:56 PM

My question was how does a President make financial commitments to a foreign country without Congressional approval. It could be an announcement of $500 million in military aid to Pakistan (as Shrillary just made a couple of weeks ago). Does this money come out of the famous ‘Obamastash’? Or does the Executive Office now have to go to the House to ask for a $500 million appropriation? If so, what happens if they say no?

It’s fine if Israel has to buy the jets but that wasn’t made clear.

GnuBreed on December 7, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Hey since we’re wasting Blood and treasure in Afghanistan (9 years and we can’t beat these goat herding 7th century bandits?)……..what about sending American troops to guard Hamas and their thugs in Gaza?

http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/world/2010/12/catch-and-release-taliban-fighters-afghanistan-angers-troops

PappyD61 on December 7, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Ya,Liberal Presidents are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
serious about Mid East Peaceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
========================================================

Lets review:
————

HAVE A CIGAR, MONICA; Clinton faces sex game claims.

played a bizarre sex game in the White House with a cigar, it was claimed last night.

The kinky encounter,

took place as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sat outside, waiting to meet the president for crucial talks on the Middle East crisis.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/HAVE+A+CIGAR,+MONICA%3B+Clinton+faces+sex+game+claims.-a060664408

canopfor on December 7, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Palin scores again… She said telling Isreal not to build settlements for its growing population was wrong…

CCRWM on December 7, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Hey since we’re wasting Blood and treasure in Afghanistan

PappyD61 on December 7, 2010 at 8:34 PM

PappyD61:What a clusterfark,thank-you for the eye-opener!:)
=================================================

More than 500 suspected Taliban fighters detained by U.S. forces have been released from custody at the urging of Afghan government officials, angering both American troops and some Afghans who oppose the policy on the grounds that many of those released return to the battlefield to kill NATO soldiers and Afghan civilians.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/world/2010/12/catch-and-release-taliban-fighters-afghanistan-angers-troops#ixzz17ToqirMF

canopfor on December 7, 2010 at 8:39 PM

In fact, a Palestinian negotiator said last week that if settlement construction resumed in the city, they’d start pushing for international recognition of a Palestinian state whether Israel and the U.S. like it or not.

Oh, I sooo want this to happen. Then, the next katyusha that comes over the wall will be an act of war recognized by the entire world. Then, the Israelis will be within their international rights to exterminate this vermin once and for all. As their loyal ally, we can even help.

Kafir on December 7, 2010 at 8:51 PM

While I have no doubt that under the right circumstances, Barack Obama will go back on this decision as he has so many others, coming on top of Monday’s tax cut deal and today’s news conference and the leak that he might relax standards on the current coal and nuclear power regulations, certain liberal enclaves across America are going to be awash in blood from all the heads exploding in anger over the past 24 hours.

jon1979 on December 7, 2010 at 8:59 PM

I wonder how reality crow tastes with a side of arugula?

Palestine is a small country. They pose no threat to us.

BobMbx on December 7, 2010 at 8:07 P

Dead wrong on both statements.

If that was sarcasm, I apologize.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:01 PM

If that was sarcasm, I apologize.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:01 PM

See this.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 7, 2010 at 9:31 PM

Then, the Israelis will be within their international rights to exterminate this vermin once and for all.

Kafir on December 7, 2010 at 8:51 PM

The world seems to have decided that defeating an aggressor to the point of unconditional surrender is no longer permissible. Israel could have done just that in both 1967 and 1973 but the world wouldn’t have it. I doubt very much that they will respond differently when the status quo ante is resumed, since that is what an internationally recognized declaration of statehood would essentially mean.

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 9:33 PM

The world seems to have decided that defeating an aggressor to the point of unconditional surrender is no longer permissible. Israel could have done just that in both 1967 and 1973 but the world wouldn’t have it. I doubt very much that they will respond differently when the status quo ante is resumed, since that is what an internationally recognized declaration of statehood would essentially mean.

ProfessorMiao on December 7, 2010 at 9:33 PM

You’re right. The nonsense of a ‘proportional response’ to any attack has been forced on us by the liberals. I suspect that if WMD’s are ever used against Israel or any other country first, all that goes out the window, and rightly so.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 9:41 PM

If that was sarcasm, I apologize.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:01 PM

See this.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 7, 2010 at 9:31 PM

Duh. Stupid me.

If it would have been a snake, it would have bitten me. I don’t know how I forgot that little morsel of Ojesus Smartpower. Thanks for the reminder, and apologies again to Bob.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:57 PM

I hope for his sake that START gets ratified, because that might be the last foreign policy “victory” for a good long while.

I hope he fails…

lovingmyUSA on December 7, 2010 at 10:38 PM

The Israelis will – at most – be delayed in getting what they want. No US president has ever had the spine to do more, not even Ronald freaking Reagan.

If Obama has enough brain cells to fill a teaspoon, he’ll quietly slink away and focus on a battle he has a snowball’s chance in heck of winning.

Dark-Star on December 7, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Bush Snr. did. He had balls.

lexhamfox on December 8, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Wait!

Did a sitting U.S. President finally acknowledge that “Land for Peace” never fails to screw Israel and embolden their terrorist neighbors?

We’re through the looking glass here, people…

SuperCool on December 8, 2010 at 6:36 AM

So this isn’t necessarily a situation where The One can now walk away;

watch him do just that

cmsinaz on December 8, 2010 at 7:31 AM