Re "The Sunday Deadline" (editorial, Sept. 24) Settlement construction activity has never been a reason for the Palestinian leadership to avoid negotiating with Israel. As you correctly note, a freeze was promised to the Palestinians by President Obama, never by Israel.
Nonetheless, ten months ago Israel made an unprecedented and politically risky commitment to substantially curtail construction in the settlements when Prime Minister Netanyahu offered to immediately commence direct negotiations without preconditions. It took the Palestinians nine months to finally accept that offer. Having agreed to sit down and negotiate directly without preconditions, the first thing President Abbas did was to reassert settlement construction activity as a condition to continuing the talks.
You suggest Prime Minister Netanyahu should now accept this serious breach of good faith to give the Palestinians "more confidence." In the past week, Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly and publicly stated Israel is prepared to compromise on the issue of settlement construction so the talks can continue, thereby taking another political risk for peace. Mr. Abbas has not given the slightest public indication he is willing to make any compromise on this issue.
Once again your conclusion is that only Israel must make concessions while giving the Palestinians a free pass.
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