Reports are flying today that a deal is near on continuing the stalled Mideast peace talks, with Sunday’s vote on a “loyalty oath” an apparent concession to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for his vote in favor of the 60 day settlement freeze.
Though the 60 days of freezing new construction would be enormously significant as a sign of good faith, it would likely mean virtually nothing to settlement construction, as massive amounts of new construction has already been started in the week and a half since the last freeze expired. It is, however, the condition for the Palestinian’s participation in the talks.
The loyalty oath isn’t the only thing Israel is getting out of the deal either, as Israeli officials have confirmed a package of US pledges coming in return for saving the talks. The details of what the US is offering has not been announced but is believed to be significant.
The talks have been stalled since the resumption of Israel’s settlement expansion, but it is believed that Lieberman was the last holdout for a majority vote on a new temporary freeze. A number of far right members had threatened to leave the government if the freeze was returned, as had Lieberman, though advancing his party’s long-term goal of mandatory loyalty oaths for non-Jews will likely be enough to satisfy his supporters.
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