Netanyahu doubles down with new settlement freeze

Pushed to the wall by the United States, Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed to go back to his cabinet and fight for another 90 day freeze on most settlements on the West Bank.

The New York Times:

In return, the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth $3 billion that would be contingent on the signing of a peace agreement, the official said. The United States would also block any moves in the United Nations Security Council that would try to shape a final peace agreement.

The quid pro quo was hashed out by Mr. Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in seven and a half hours of talks in New York on Thursday.

The partial freeze would not include East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians view as the future capital of a Palestinian state and where recent Israeli building set off a firestorm of criticism.

It was unclear whether the prime minister could win approval for the United States deal from his cabinet, which has been reluctant to freeze settlement construction. It was also unclear if the leaks of the details of the agreement, which were widely reported in Israeli newspapers on Saturday, were designed to put pressure on Mr. Netanyahu.

No doubt getting his cabinet to go along will be a problem, but any other outcome would be disastrous so it is likely to win reluctant approval. The real problem is the United States and its naive belief that a settlement freeze will appease Abbas and the PA. Even if Abbas comes back to the table, it won't take him long to find another excuse to break off talks.

It takes two to make peace and when one side insists on the destruction of the other, it's difficult to imagine any concession - save mass suicide by the Israelis - that would satisfy the Palestinians.