The White House is giving up on an Israeli settlement freeze as the ticket to reviving gasping peace talks. There doesn't appear to be a clear plan B, but officials say that the 90-day freeze Washington sought—on which PM Benjamin Netanyahu failed to secure a buy-in from his Cabinet—wasn't long enough to make substantive progress anyway, the New York Times reports.
“Wisely, in my view, the administration is bending to reality,” says a Clinton-era negotiator. “The most likely scenario is that this moratorium was going to buy them a short reprieve, and was then going to plunge them into the same crisis they were in before.” Analysts say that while the change of plan is definitely embarrassing for the Obama administration, it now has a chance to move away from a policy that wasn't producing results and look for a better strategy. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are due to meet with US officials in Washington next week.
(Read more West Bank settlements stories.)