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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Netanyahu and Mitchell deadlocked over 'settlement freeze'

According to the 'Palestinian' Maan website, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell will meet again on Friday after the two failed to reach an agreement on Wednesday as to the scope and length of a 'settlement freeze.'
“It’s time for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to be courageous and tell his people in a direct way that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is over,” Netanyahu told Israeli press following a cabinet meeting to review the first failed talks over settlement construction.

Mitchell and Netanyahu first met Tuesday morning and failed to reach an agreement on the issue of a settlement freeze, the major stumbling block to a tripartite sit down between Abbas, Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

Netanyahu met with his cabinet following the first round of failed talks, where the consensus of the cabinet was that no end would come to the Middle East conflict as long as Palestinians continue to demand a halt on settlement construction for a full year. Israel has been pushing for a temporary settlement freeze lasting nine months, that would not include settlements already given the go-ahead as well as "natural growth."

Abbas has categorically rejected the re-start of talks without a total construction halt.
JPost adds:
Officials said Wednesday's meeting was "good" but did not give further details.

The Arabic language London-based daily Asharq Al-Awsat quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the Palestinian Authority feared the possibility that Washington would pressure Abbas to resume negotiations with Israel without receiving a commitment that settlement construction would stop.

Abbas has said repeatedly he will not negotiate again until there is a complete settlement freeze, something Netanyahu has declared he will not do.


The fact that Mitchell met with Netanyahu on Tuesday morning, went to Abbas in Ramallah in the afternoon and met with the prime minister again on Wednesday morning left the impression that he was shuttling questions and answers back and forth.
Here's my prediction: There's not going to be a meeting. And Obama has only himself to blame for giving Abu Mazen the idea of digging in his heels.


At 11:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Why is Netanyahu offering 9 months?

This is not acceptable.

At 12:57 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel does not want to be blamed for not letting negotiations get under way. Its longer than I would like but its not the end of the world. What the PA does not get is no Israeli government will adopt an open-ended settlement freeze. If the PA does not like Israel's offer, then they will have put up with no restrictions on renewed construction in Yesha. In other words, Abbas can put up or he can shut up!

At 9:24 AM, Blogger trumpeldor said...

Israel will be criticized whatever happens on the ground
Let us buil on .


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