The White House declared that the meeting Obama will hold between Mahmoud Abbas [the Palestinian head of state] and Benjamin Netanyahu [the Israeli primer minister] during the United Nations General Assembly session will yield no major results. A few days earlier, American envoy George Mitchell came back to the U.S., having made no progress in the issue of Israeli settlements: the issue which is so much associated with pushing the stalled peace march. Israel sternly insists upon pursuing its settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem. And to set things right, the entire peace process can be a terrible catastrophe due to Israel’s wrongheadedness, stumbling negotiations of final status issues and disengagement, as well as the procrastinated declaration of an independent Palestinian state.
Netanyahu has a clear plan. He is not going to ground his settling expansion to a halt. He may suspend it for some time and use it as a trump card in the negotiations process. Moreover, Netanyahu hopes to keep his plans of usurping more occupied territories or to auction his endorsement of giving up these activities. And regardless of all U.N. resolutions that condemned the establishment, not even the expansion, of settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories, Netanyahu wants his plans to be the status quo. The Israeli settlements are illegitimate, yet they are still sprawling. This is rightly perceived by Obama’s administration, which openly called on Israel to stop these activities in order to return negotiations to their normal course where every party assumes his responsibilities and rights.
Apparently, Netanyahu's status implies his lying in wait to jump on any change in the American attitude. Perhaps Obama can be pressured by friends of Israel who are involved in different circles of American decision-making. Those indeed stand as resounding pressure groups whose effect on the American president himself should not be underestimated or overlooked. In this context, Obama’s administration is to back its frank attitude towards Israeli settlement expansion projects in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Furthermore, President Obama is expected to use bargaining chips with the Israeli prime minister to force him to retreat from these settlement plans and enter negotiations of a final solution.
On the other side, the Egyptian and Arab attitude regarding this issue is decisive and clear. It was summarized by President Mubarak [Egyptian head of state] in more than one place and occasion. He also drafted it during his visit to the U.S. and when meeting with Obama in Washington. Arabs are not going to normalize their relationships with Israel before recognizing an independent Palestinian state. That is what should be perceived by Netanyahu and supported by President Obama!