The settlement freeze shows Israel is serious. But peace won’t become reality without an immediate and serious return to the negotiating table.
The time for peace in the Middle East is now. This has been the consistent message from both the Netanyahu and Obama administrations. And it is time to take advantage of the fact that we have a stable government in Israel capable of making a move toward peace, a US government that has made it an important foreign-policy priority, our best Palestinian Authority negotiating partner thus far in President Mahmoud Abbas, and a majority of the population and government on both sides who desire a two-state solution.
Unfortunately, Israel’s repeated requests for renewed negotiations without preconditions have yet to yield results. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t deterred from announcing a historically unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze.
To understand the significance of this, one must understand the domestic politics the prime minister overcame, and the consequences it brings for thousands of settlers living in the West Bank.