With just one week left before the partial settlement construction freeze expires, the issue seems as contentious as ever, threatening to tear apart the ongoing peace talks, the Israeli coalition government, or both.
Tonight the fighting in the Israeli government seems to be centered around efforts by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to find legal loopholes to continue a “de facto” freeze even after the government allows the freeze to expire. The Netanyahu government has pledged to see the freeze expire, and a number of its top members have threatened to leave entirely if it continues in any form.
Meanwhile Palestimian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking US help in pushing for the continuation of the freeze, and his already controversial participation in the peace process during a “partial freeze” could become politically untenable should the freeze end.
Which explains the appeal of finding some compromise where the participants can have their cake and eat it to, but also makes it a complicated endeavour. Neither side seems likely to be contented with a half-measure, and rather than satisfying both such a move may well satisfy neither and accomplish nothing.
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