Well, it appears Israel's Prime Minister, Mr. Bibi Netanyahu, has a plan.
One day after Mr. Netanyahu declared in the Israeli Knesset that he and Israel aspire to an agreement with the Palestinians, and that that would be possible to do within a year, he has dropped the gauntlet on negotiations for peace.
He has again, brought up the issue of recognition of Israel as the Jewish state for Jewish people as a precondition for the extension of the construction freeze in the West Bank.
He knows Palestinians would refuse.
And the Palestinian Authority hastened to dismiss Bibi's formula saying they will not recognize a Jewish state. A PA spokesman said: “Netanyahu's offer has no chance.”
But not only the Palestinians are saying there's no chance, Mr. Netanyahu's Vice Premier made it clear saying after Netanyahu's Knesset speak, that he did not know any minister in the seven-member inner forum of Bibi's who thinks that it is possible to reach an agreement in the near future. Minister Yaalon added: “There is no chance that the Palestinians will recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”
Sources within Mr. Netanyahu's Bureau have reportedly been saying that in any case, any new freeze will not return in the previous format. Supposedly Israel is ready to consider some kind of reduced construction subject to a quid pro quo from the Palestinians and the United States.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton communicated America's position has not changed; do not build. The settlers, for their part replied; Our position has not changed – do not freeze.
As with other of Israel's Prime Ministers, Mr. Netanyahu's remarks can be interpreted to mean that the settlements are tools to use in the talks with the Palestinian's – but also that he will do everything to torpedo the negotiations with the Palestinians at this current stage.
The Palestinians may consider such a statement, but they first want signed sealed and delivered the issues under discussion, i.e. the borders of the future Palestinian state, status of Jerusalem, refugees, etc.
The plan Mr. Netanyahu has is to wait till after the upcoming US mid-term elections to make any moves. Bibi is delaying things in order to deflect Obama's peace initiative. He'll do this he hopes, with Israel's allies in the House of Representatives, which is expected to have a Republican, anti-Obama majority.
Tune in tomorrow on the Harvest show for the latest details, see you then!
Middle East Correspondent