It was just a speech, but Prime Minister Netanyahu said today at the Herzliya Conference, “I have a basis to hope that in the coming weeks we will renew the peace process with the Palestinians without preconditions.” “Without preconditions” is a key qualifier: the implication, to my reading, is that Netanyahu is saying the talks will occur without the temporary East Jerusalem construction freeze that the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly demanded, most recently yesterday at Herzliya in the person of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Not sure if said leadership would actually go along with that.
Netanyahu also cast the United States as a benevolent tugboat, easing the ship of negotiations out of harbor before it takes over on its own: “You need two to tango,” he said. “In the Middle East, you need three, and only later can we continue to dance as a couple.”
Don’t forget to check in on Judith Miller’s dispatches from Herzliya for Tablet Magazine.
Related: Herzliya Diary [Tablet Magazine]