This issue is particularly revealing of elements in Netanyahu's personality. First, a basic principle. If you are discussing with another side sharing the land (or a pizza), it cannot be done while one party keeps devouring the land (or the pizza). Some form of a freeze is obviously a necessary condition for peace talks. If this thought did not occur to netanyahu on his own, he could have gotten a clue from the fact that the Roadmap included a freeze in the FIRST phase. This is basic. What decision did the Netanyahu government take? 1. The freeze applies to outside the current line of buildings, not to building WITHIN the currently built area. 2. The freeze will last for only 10 months. 3. The freeze will not be renewed. What do these elements indicate? The first element shows that Netanyahu has some sense of realism, and understands that a territorial exchange is acceptable to the Palestinians, so he takes advantage of it. The two other points are clearly unreal. Was it conceivable that the talks will be concluded in only 10 months? Would the Palestinians even conceive of talking peace with no freezing? I think Netanyahu has enough realism to realize that, but since he was dealing with his right wing partners Lieberman and most of Likud members, he decided to deceive them for now, present a nicer picture, and when the time comes he would try to wriggle out of it. All this shows Netanyahu as a creature of pressure; when pressured he acts, many times deceptively. Ultimately, he is not a courageous leader. He did not fight out the good fight then. Now he will pay some extra political cost for cheating his followers.
U.S. sanctions Russia's state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport (Reuters)