The Arab League made it clear Wednesday that there is no point in such negotiations unless Israel reverse its plans to expand settlements in the occupied territories.
League leader Amr Moussa said after a meeting of the League in Cairo that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas no longer wish to enter into negotiations as he just a few days ago let himself be persuaded to join in.
- Our attitude is clear. It can not get calls, either directly or indirectly, before the recent Israeli decisions are reversed, "said Moussa.
Thus lies the great efforts the U.S. has made in recent months to bring the parties together, at least to indirect talks with mediator George Mitchell as mediator, in the gravel until further notice.
In Israel the government is struggling to save the pieces after the Interior Ministry announced the construction of 1600 new homes in the occupied part of Jerusalem, in the Vice-President Joe Bidens visit.
Home Secretary Ely Yishay from the religious Shas Party complained that the announcement came while Biden was in Israel, and said they should have waited a few weeks. He said he had not meant to provoke anyone.
Probably was not Netanyahu aware that the announcement would come while Biden was in town.
Several commentators said that Yishai knew what he was doing and that the purpose was to send a clear signal to Netanyahu that he does not agree to negotiations on the occupied territories.
Thus, Biden was a pawn in an internal settlement in the troubled Israeli government coalition.
Biden was so incensed that he denounced the plans in sharp terms, marking his displeasure at getting a half hour late for dinner with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Wednesday, he repeated the dire condemnation at a press conference in Ramallah after a friendly meeting with President Abbas.
Biden was in Israel to sweeten Israel after the tug of war between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu about the settlements. The hope of his was that a better relationship would make Israel more willing to negotiate.
But the optimistic plans came to nothing with the public humiliation that Biden was exposed to, and Biden was forced to make it clear to Israel that such plans undermine efforts to promote the peace process.
Quarrels about the city
Although Interior Minister Yishay regret the timing, he makes it clear that the plans are not withdrawn and East Jerusalem are not included in the temporary halt in construction on the west bank that Netanyahu introduced after pressure from Obama.
Israel considers Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, while Palestinians want the eastern part of the Palestinian city as the capital of their future state.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the West Bank was occupied in 1967, and therefore believes that no one has anything with what they are doing there.
But the international community do not recognize the annexation and consider East Jerusalem as occupied on a par with the rest of the West Bank.
The area where the 1600 new dwellings to be built, Ramat Shlomo, is also not initially part of Jerusalem at all, but a bit of the West Bank which Israel has unilaterally annexed to Jerusalem.