... but he has to do it in a more measured way. From being tough with Netanyahu, the US turned around and started a charm offensive towards Israel aimed, I suppose, at Jewish American contributors in the coming Congressional elections. Abbas does not have such a strong influential ally as AIPAC and has to stand up for himself. This is a correct policy in principle. Example: Abbas initially demanded freezing ALL construction in West Bank and Jerusalem as condition for talks with Netanyahu, who does not appear ready for peace. That was a reasonable demand, supported by International law. The US prevailed upon Abbas to start indirect talks, which he agreed to. He cannot now turn around and agree to direct talks without some real progress in the indirect talks, or else he will lose more credit with his own Palestinian public. This Obama must understand, Congressional elections not withstanding. The question is, how much "real progress" is demanded. Abbas tends to exaggerate here, but at this point in time there appears to be no progress at all because Netanyahu only offered "gestures", no beef. Let Abbas state some reasonable measure for starting direct talks. Example: Evacuating illegal settlements. This is politically hard, but Netanyahu will have no excuse.
Death toll from car bombs in Iraq rises to 56 (AP)