"... Maya Bengal in Ma'ariv, however, reports that no agreement was reached regarding the settlement issue and that Netanyahu and Mitchell left the meeting with contradictory beliefs. While Netanyahu left believing that the US is more understanding of Israel's situation and will dramatically reduce pressure on Israel for a settlement freeze, American officials state that the US will not back down on the issue.
At the end of the meeting, Netanyahu appeared pleased. "There is progress in the attempt to find a middle road," said a source close to Netanyahu. Senior sources in Jerusalem said that the Americans were dropping the pressure from Israel, as of now, mainly with regard to the major bone of contention between Washington and Jerusalem: The demand to freeze construction in the settlements as a preliminary step to launching regional peace negotiations. "There has been progress in the American understanding that this is a freeze that can only exist after normalization measures have been obtained from the Arab states and as part of talks on a final status arrangement," said a senior source yesterday. American officials involved in the talks said, however, that the US had not backed down. "The demand to freeze the construction in the settlements still stands," said a US official.
Nathan Guttman in Ha'aretz reports:
So far, the Arabs have been resistant. Still, in the wake of Obama's White House meeting with the Jewish delegation, Israeli, American and Arab leaders have, to varying degrees, shifted their rhetoric in ways that reflect acceptance of a new principle of reciprocity.
"The Americans now understand that if they get anything from us on the settlement issue, it will only be in the broader context of some kind of Arab return," said an Israeli diplomat, echoing other similar comments from Israeli officials recently..."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Via the Pulse:
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 9:54 AM