In a Thursday interview, Ambassador Michael Oren was the first Israeli official to talk openly about the bribes incentives offered by the Obami to Israel to extract an extension of settlement freeze. Was this another off-the-reservation moment for Oren, an argument to his own government that Israel would really be “getting something” for extending a settlement moratorium? Hard to say. But Bibi, speaking later on the same day that Oren confirmed the U.S. offer, was having none of that, as this report explains:
“We honored the government decision and took upon ourselves a commitment to the international community and the US to start the peace talks,” Netanyahu said of the 10- month moratorium that ended nearly two weeks ago.
“The Palestinians waited over nine months and, immediately at the onset of the talks, set a precondition even though they had promised that there would be no preconditions.”
The prime minister said that just as his government honored its commitment regarding the settlement moratorium, “we very much hope that the Palestinians will stay in the peace talks.”
But, said Netanyahu during a visit to Lod, “Today, the questions need to be directed to the Palestinians: Why are you abandoning the talks? Don’t turn your backs on peace; stay in the talks. This is what needs to be asked today, and not of the Israeli government.”
But the Arab League may not issue a permission slip for Abbas to return:
In Jerusalem, meanwhile, the widespread assessment was that the Arab League would back Abbas’s decision to leave the talks if Israel did not declare another settlement freeze, or did not declare that it would accept the principle of a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967, borders. …
[I]n what was perhaps a sign of low expectations in Jerusalem of any dramatic breakthrough, no meeting of the security cabinet or Netanyahu’s senior decision-making forum, the septet, had been scheduled for Friday. …
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a PLO leader and close adviser to Abbas, was quoted by Agence France-Press as saying that there can be no peace as long as Netanyahu is in power. … Abbas, meanwhile, has returned to his old habit of threatening to resign if Israel does not comply with his demands, making his latest threat during a meeting in Jordan on Wednesday night with members of the Palestine National Council, the PLO’s parliament- in-exile.
Perhaps the PA will return to the talks. Perhaps not. Now, Obama told us that this was a unique “opportunity” to reach a peace deal; but so far, it appears to be just like every other fruitless round of talks with Palestinian “leaders” who lack a constituency and the will to end the perpetual war against the Jewish state.