Mr. Obama insisted that Israel suspend settlement construction before negotiations. On that basis Mr. Abbas was emboldened to follow suit. Netanyahu said no and Obama blinked. He now expects Abbas to back down, yet again. Obama had earlier asked(?) Abbas to postpone discussion of the Goldstone report. He did, at serious political cost. Abbas may appear stubborn, but why should he be negotiating about settlements while Israel continues building them, as happened with leaders from Barak to Olmert? We all knew forty years ago that the day would come when Israel and their supporters would argue that "demographic changes" make it impossible to close or reduce settlements. The demographic changes were intentionally created by Israel against world opinion and international law. If USA cannot offer leadership, including putting a leash on Israel, it should butt out and let the UN conduct these negotiations.
Five people killed in car crash near Hebron (Haaretz)
from the article: Israel: Palestinians to blame for stalled peace talks