After last week’s announced settlement expansion effectively torpedoed the indirect peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government is will to do almost anything to build “trust,” so long as it doesn’t involve the only thing the PA actually wants, abandoning that settlement expansion.
Now, Israel has reportedly reached an agreement with the Obama Administration on something called a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In short, Israel would continue to expand settlements in occupied East Jerusalem with impunity, but they wouldn’t make a big deal of announcing those expansions in the press.
Further, officials say that the Netanyahu government could make some serious gestures to the PA, including the removal of certain West Bank checkpoints and the release of some Palestinian detainees.
But while Netanyahu seems to want to fix the rift with the United States, at least so long as it doesn’t require anything more than nominal gestures, other members of his coalition seem to still be spoiling for a fight. The Shas Party’s official journal today condemned President Obama as a ‘stone throwing Palestinian.’ While this sort of rhetoric would normalize be easy to brush off, Shas leader Eli Yishai was actually responsible for last week’s settlement announcement, and is still in a position to torpedo any rapprochement if he is so inclined.