It's been a day of further explanations on all sides. Yesterdays 'mishap' of Israel declaring an additional 1600 homes being built in the area Palestinians hope to have in Jerusalem continues to hold the headlines and editorials here.
First, lets look at Vice President Joe Biden. Mr. Biden stressed in his address to the Israeli public at Tel Aviv University that the action is not productive to bringing the sides together to talk peace. That is a message now that he has stressed three times in as many days. Yesterday, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his side, he let his displeasure of the action be known.
As for Israeli Prime Minister BIbi Netanyahu, he tried as he could both in personal delivery and through press releases to explain away the situation and defract any possibility of his offices involvement. He called the Interior Minister in for a meeting and reportedly gave him some “harsh” words , and made it clear that his expectation that such a thing never occur again. Both men have stressed that the actual building of the homes is at least a year away – but they will be built.
The Mr. Abbas and the Palestinians are left with a few days more to wait till Special Envoy George Mitchell arrives. When he does, he's going to receive an earful, and no doubt will be prepared to try and smooth things over to salvage the talks. Mr. Abbas telephoned the Chairman of the Arab League who latter released a statement that the indirect talks that Mr. Mitchell worked so hard to pull together are off.
This is what America is most upset about when you boil it all down. Huge amounts of energy and negotiation went into pulling the weight of the Arab league behind these talks and to get the peace process rolling again
Now it is stuck – again, and people are seeing it as it is – Israel continues to ring Jerusalem effectively cutting of the possibility for the Palestinians having Jerusalem as their capital of their future State.
The Arab League did not want to deal with Mr. Netanyahu, who they see as an Israeli leader they can not trust – and they told the American administration so, and now in action, their point has been made.
America will overlook this event eventually – but it is not going to forget it. Mr. Biden was cordial in his closing address to Israel, so the healing process has begun. However, with the reported sum of 50,000 homes slated to be built in the Arab areas of Jerusalem over the coming years – America will have to be doing a lot of looking the other way, and the Palestinians for other real estate for their capital.
Middle East Correspondent