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Abbas blinks first

The Palestinian leadership has hinted that they may be open to continuing talks with Israel even if “settlement” building resumes:

Speaking to a closed meeting of Jewish American leaders in New York late Tuesday, Abbas made clear that he wants to continue the dialogue with Israel and signaled that he was backing away from his ultimatum.

“I cannot say I will leave the negotiations, but it’s very difficult for me to resume talks if Prime Minister Netanyahu declares that he will continue his activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” Abbas said, according to a transcript of the event obtained by The Associated Press.

Abbas urged Israel to extend the building restrictions for several months while the sides negotiate the final borders between Israel and a future Palestine. “At that time, Israelis will be free to build in their territory and the Palestinians the same,” he said.

This could just be a stall tactic on Abbas’s part, sure. But the reality is that Israel cannot indefinitely put life on hold for nearly half a million of its citizens, while a peace that everyone knows will not happen is endlessly discussed just to boost Obama’s ego.

A lot of people think that these rounds of peace talks are futile. I don’t. Increasingly, I think they’re dangerous, because at the end of each round of failed talks, Israel has conceded that much more and has moved the starting marker for the next round. It’s a war of attrition, all right, only going the other way. And where does it stop?

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