Oh, now you want peace talks!
With Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, saying that he would not run for election scheduled for January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suddenly called for an immediate resumption of peace talks with Palestinians and pledged more steps to improve economic conditions in Palestinian areas.
Netanyahu went so far as to send Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Washington with a message that Israel will do all it can to renew peace talks with the Palestinians. Of course Netanyahu still refused to freeze Jewish settlements in the West Bank as is required in the Oslo peace talks but the open “and very public” begging for immediate peace talks is something new for Netanyahu. Desperation sure can make people change their speeches in a hurry.
Now why can’t he do this in the first place? He and U.S Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cut the legs off the peace deal last week when they argued Israeli restraint is as good as a settlement freeze. Now the politically wounded Abbas has decided to throw in the towel, and Netanyahu is faced with the prospect of war or a new more radical leader than Abbas. Suddenly there’s activity for peace talks.
Unfortunately, it seems this is too little too late. If only he would have done this in the first place. Another miss chance for peace in the Middle East.