On Thursday, President Barack Obama telephoned Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to urge him to block a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements. Obama pressed very hard during the 50 minute call, so hard that Abbas felt constrained to agree to take Obama's request to the PLO executive committee (which, not surprisingly, agreed that Abbas should not accede to Obama's request).
But what a request it is!
For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After all, it is the gobbling up of the land by settlements that is likely to prevent a Palestinian state from ever coming into being.
Asking the Palestinian leader to agree to oppose a resolution condemning them is like asking the Israeli prime minister to agree to drop Israel's claim to the Israeli parts of Jerusalem.
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