Less than a month into Israel-Palestine direct peace talks, Israel has allowed its moratorium on settlement growth in the West Bank to expire. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had threatened to back out of peace talks if the settlers, who are gradually encroaching Israeli claims onto Palestinian territories, resumed. They have not, but this move seriously complicates the latest peace effort after decades of U.S.-led attempts. Will this end President Barack Obama's effort to secure peace?
- U.S. Failing to Find Solution The New York Times' Ethan Bronner and Mark Landler write, "American officials spent Sunday desperately seeking a formula to satisfy both sides -- an effort that failed to produce a compromise from the Israelis but that may have helped persuade the Palestinians to delay a decision on abandoning the talks until the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, consults with Arab leaders in coming days. ... The Obama administration said in a statement that it would continue its diplomatic efforts to keep the talks going, and pointedly reaffirmed its opposition to Jewish settlements."
- Positive Signs Palestinians May Continue Politico's Laura Rozen writes, "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to offer a possible formula under which he could stay in the talks. Abbas said he would go to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and to the Arab League next week to get their take on whether he should continue direct talks. Negotiations towards a deal appear to be continuing in the days leading up to the Arab League meeting scheduled for October 4th."
- Netanyahu Trying to Reconcile Palestinians, Settlers Haaretz's Akiva Eldar urges patience. "It's no spin. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really is looking high and low for a magical solution to both let the tractors get back to work on settlement lands and leave President Mahmoud Abbas at the negotiating table. ... No, Netanyahu does not want to create a crisis over the freeze. Why should he have a crisis over the demand of Jewish migrants to settle in Hebron if he can focus it on the demand of Palestinian refugees to return to Haifa? Let Bibi get through the nuisance of the freeze, and he will pull Abbas into the sure trap over the 'right of return.'"
- Proves Netanyahu Doesn't Want Peace The Daily Beast's Peter Beinart asks, "What would it take to make American Jewish groups admit that an Israeli prime minister is not serious about peace? ... Extending the settlement freeze might have prompted some of Netanyahu's right-wing coalition partners to quit his government. But a prime minister genuinely interested in a final status deal would have said good riddance, and brought in Livni's Kadima instead, thus creating a government composed of people who actually support a Palestinian state. Netanyahu, however, has not done that, just as he refused to create a centrist government during his first stint as prime minister. The reason is that he likes governing alongside racist, pro-settler parties like Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu and Ovadiah Yosef's Shas. They give him political cover to do what he has wanted to do all along: Make a viable Palestinian state impossible."
- How Must This Look to Palestinians? Wired's Spencer Ackerman shakes his head at the jubilant settlers celebrating the resumption of construction by releasing balloons. "Imagine being a Palestinian and seeing balloons fly over a circumstance that means they will have less of Palestine, even as their leaders negotiate a comprehensive peace. Would you support continuing peace-processing with the Israelis?"