By Ted Belman –
Abbas announced a reconciliation with Hamas within five weeks with elections soon thereafter. Israel decided to blame him for choosing Hamas over peace.
But it took a 6 hour cabinet meeting to decide what to do. Livni and Lapid on the one side and Bennett on the other with Netanyahu wavering in the middle. In the end, the Cabinet settled for a suspension of talks and for sanctions. The suspension is meaningless as there were no talks and no agreement to extend the non-existing talks beyond April 29. If the parties decide to do something, the same agreement that gets the suspension lifted will get the talks extended.
As for possible sanctions giving the mood of the Cabinet, they will not be meaningful.
According to Channel 10, while Netanyahu refused Palestinian demands to explicitly present his position on borders, he did give consent to his government’s chief representatives in the negotiations – Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and attorney Yitzhak Molcho – to present maps on which both sides would then proceed to sketch the contours of the political boundary that would separate Israel and a yet-to-be-created Palestine.
The prime minister also agreed to a freeze of all new construction in the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria, though he insisted that Israel would complete all construction that has already been initiated, according to Channel 10.
It appears to me Netanyahu is prepared for “painful concessions” to achieve peace but Abbas isn’t. With Abbas adamantly sticking to the ’67 lines, never mind the other sticking points, what could Bibi possibly off that wouldn’t be laughed off the stage by Abbas or the Israeli Right?