On eve of departure for speech to US Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has told his Knesset that Israel is prepared to concede parts of what is considered the homeland of Israel on condition that there will be a genuine peace.
There were two key points in his speech; Netanyahu said that there must be an Israeli military presence along the Jordan River and that Israel will maintain it's settlement blocs in the West Bank.
However, what was not in the speech was the maintaining of civilian Israeli settlements and communities in the Jordan Valley, and any promise to maintain the isolated settlements, of which there are many, in the West Bank.
Mr. Netanyahu's 'principles' come as the Palestinians have made an 'offer' that they will agree to postpone their unilateral statehood declaration if Netanyahu freezes construction for three months and enters into negotiations on the basis of the 1967 cease-fire borders.
That's all understood, but what really throws the idea out the window is the idea of partitioning Jerusalem – it becoming the capital of both Israel and the Palestinians.
Mr. Netanyahu used the time tested lines that there is no partner for true peace and that the Palestinian leadership is unwilling to compromise.
Critics in the media are saying that everyone could find something he wanted in the Knesset speech. Netanyahu was far-reaching in two diverging directions, and yet his presentation centered on the common denominator shared by the nation. He said that a Fatah-Hamas government is not a partner for peace, saying as well that they (the Palestinians) must recognize Israel's existence as a Jewish state.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for not wanting peace and that the Palestinians will continue to seek UN recognition in September.
In his New York Times article, the Palestinian Authority Chairman wrote that Palestinians have waited 20 years for progress in negotiations, and cannot wait any longer.
Abbas also reiterated that as a state they will be able to legally act against Israel, and appealed to the international community to support a declaration of Palestine – claiming the unilateral recognition is not a political trick.
We'll keep you posted on the Harvest Show as to the developments of Mr. Netanyahu's anticipated speech and the Palestinians quest for Statehood – so stay tuned!
Middle East Correspondent