The Palestinian Authority will not return to peace talks with Israel unless there is a freeze on settlement building that includes east Jerusalem, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday. "If there is no complete halt to settlements in all of the Palestinian territories including Jerusalem, we will not accept," he said.No Israeli government, and I mean none, will agree to an official building freeze in Jerusalem. No Israeli politician can bend that far and expect to survive. Furthermore there is practically zero support amongst the Israeli public for this drastic of a concession without some kind of drastic concession in return.
Additionally, the concession cannot come from Obama. It must come from the Palestinians. Nothing short of a renunciation of the so-called right of return, or a Palestinian recognition of the Jewish character of Israel would get the Israelis to even begin thinking about this.
Abbas is giving the finger to Obama, to the world, and the Israelis. He's saying 'I'll come to the negotiating table after you've agreed to all my demands.' He's dictating terms as if he has all the power in the world.
The sad thing that's not too far off the mark. Obama is letting Abbas get away with this, with deliberately stalling negotiations so he can suck as much from Israel in advance as possible. Hell, Obama is encouraging him with his calls for a settlement freeze.
Obama has completely derailed whatever peace process existed before he came to power. I wonder how much more damage he can cause before he's through.