No preconditions except ours

Palestine is now  a nonmember observer state in the UN. The US and Israel both worked against this and explained why:

Susan E. Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, was dismissive of the entire exercise. ‘‘Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade,’’ she said. ‘‘And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded.’’

There has been absolutely no progress in the past few years despite what Abbas has done so I’m not sure what prospects she’s talking about. And it’s all the Palestinians fault anyway:

‘‘Three months ago, Israel’s prime minister stood in this very hall and extended his hand in peace to President Abbas,’’ Prosor said. ‘‘He reiterated that his goal was to create a solution of two states for two peoples, where a demilitarized Palestinian state will recognize Israel as a Jewish state.’’

Now today:

Israel approved the construction of 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a government official said Friday, in what appeared to be a defiant response to the Palestinians’ successful United Nations recognition bid.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Israeli while settlement construction continues in occupied territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said negotiations must begin without preconditions.

There are two things to think about here: first, this is not an aberration–Israel has continued to build settlements despite protests by Abbas and the UN; second, notice the contradiction that is always present when Israel talks about preconditions: they say “a demilitarized Palestinian state will recognize Israel as a Jewish state” in other words Israel has preconditions but Palestinians are not allowed to have preconditions for the talks. I wonder why Abbas has a problem with that?

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