Netanyahu caves, halts construction

Posted: May 10, 2010 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Palestinians, US
Tags: , , ,

Pushing both sides. Obama. Undoubtedly, the Americans may renew optimism now, as they say Israeli PM Netanyahu caved on Jerusalem construction:

Crowley says both sides have taken some steps to create an atmosphere conducive to successful talks, including an Israeli pledge of no construction in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo for two years and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ statement that he will work against incitement of "any sort."

"They are both trying to move forward in difficult circumstances and we commend them for that," the State Department said.

(Ynet)

As soon as the news will become public in Israel, it is safe to say Netanyahu would lose a few points. After all, he took a strong stance, saying only several days ago that the construction in Jerusalem would not be halted. Yet, this seems to be exactly what he did.

The move is understandable: with heavy pressure from the Americans and the will to throw the rock back into Abbas’ court, Netanyahu decided to make the move which would “uncover” Abbas’ real face. Israeli PM does not want to be the one seen as reason for talks’ failure, thus he had to backtrack on his promises in order to score points with the Americans. The tactic could prove itself useful, in fact, if it would leave Abbas under Obama’s stern eye, expected to go for concessions.

Abbas can do little, in fact, as one of the first things Netanyahu would demand is recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. With Abbas unable to do so, Netanyahu’s advisers believe, the talks would fail, but Israel would not be the chief reason for the failure.

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