Though most have taken the Obama Administration’s official abandonment of the attempt to convince Israel to agree to a 90 day settlement freeze as proof that the peace talks are virtually dead, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took it as vindication.
Netanyahu insisted in a speech today that it proved the US “understands” how little the settlement freeze mattered, and that the only “core issues” in the peace talks are, surprise, Israel’s demands for military control over the nation, a formal recognition as a “Jewish State” and a disavowal of any right of return.
But the US is making it apparent that they don’t really think the move is vindication for Israel, and insist instead that they are now trying to get the Palestinians involved in new “indirect” peace talks, since Israel has essentially sabotaged the direct ones.
The reality, of course, is that the right-far-right coalition in Israel was never particularly comfortable with the peace talks, and their end is going to solve a lot of political problems Netanyahu was having with his core constituency, which by and large opposes the notion of peace on general principle. The question will be how much damage this does to Israel’s standing in the world.
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