Washington has abandoned efforts (CNN) to persuade Israel to renew a ninety-day freeze on settlement construction as a precondition for renewing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a State Department official said. A previous Israeli moratorium on new settlements in the occupied West Bank expired in September. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says Middle East peace talks are in crisis (BBC) following Israel's refusal to stop building settlements on occupied land.
Palestinians have refused to return to stalled talks unless new construction stops and are considering unilateral avenues to further their drive to statehood. Brazil and Argentina have recognized a free and independent Palestine (CSM) and other Latin American countries are expected to join in that symbolic support. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Israeli and Palestinian representatives this week in an effort to revive the peace process, possibly through indirect "proximity talks" (Haaretz) with U.S. mediation.
In this CFR interview, Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh recommends the United States should present a two-state "vision" for each side to vote on in order to break the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.
CFR expert Robert Danin, in this NPR interview, says that dropping the settlements issue may be a wise shift in tactics for the Obama administration because the price that they were going to potentially pay to get a settlement moratorium was far disproportionate to what it would have provided them.
This CFR Crisis Guide explores the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.