Really can’t get much done today folks, sorry. I am that poor craftsman blaming his tools.
I will note that Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have gone to the Republican Party school of negotiating, where you get a concession, and in return ask for a bigger concession:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered on Monday to renew a partial settlement construction freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
Palestinian officials swiftly rejected the proposal — Israel’s latest attempt to revive direct peace talks after the Palestinians quit the negotiating table to protest at the resumption of building in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu announced the offer three days after the Palestinians and Arab powers gave Washington a month to persuade Israel to renew a 10-month moratorium on settlement housing starts that expired on September 26.
Netanyahu has resisted an extension and his comments marked the first time he has publicly suggested a new freeze could be implemented.
The Arab League gave an extra month, and in return Netanyahu asked for a key plank of final status negotiations as a precondition to agreeing to a partial settlement freeze. Maybe to some this sounds innocuous, but without defining the “Jewish state” it would be nearly impossible to offer recognition.
You can argue who’s pre-conditioning whom, but this amounts to either trying to get everything out of the negotiations before even having them, or asking for something obviously out of reach as a prelude to blame the other side for the breakdown in talks. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the future of Middle East peace, the window of which has a month to close.