Israeli settlements in the West Bank: a Gordian knot
After a 20-month hiatus, talks have restarted in Washington between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Both have their demands: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants his country recognised as a Jewish state, while Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to walk out if construction resumes in the West Bank after the settlement freeze expires on September 26th.
After a 20 month hiatus, direct talks are restarting in Washington on September 2nd, but Palestinians are already threatening to walk out if construction resumes in the West Bank after the settlement freeze expires on September 26th. So far, the Israeli Prime Minister has carefully avoided mentioning that hot topic in his speeches at the White House, choosing instead to focus on the issue of security arrangements for Israelis on the ground. For its part, the White House plays it safe by stating that US officials have repeatedly asked both sides to create conditions that will allow them to reach a comprehensive peace agreement within the one year timeframe.
- Ofer Bronchtein, President, Forum for Peace and Reconciliation In the Middle East.