What we hear are hints of American proposals, veiled threats of sanctions and violence, yet claims of salvation if everyone behaves reasonably.

 
If this is a place for reasonable action, it would be a change of what has happened too many times since David sent Bat Sheva''s husband to his death alongside Amman.

The American proposals are not all that different from what Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered in 2000 and 2008. Among what may be new wrinkles (nothing is certain) are American offers to assure the safety of Israel from bad things in the Jordan Valley with technical gadgets and perhaps some troops, and an American proposal that Israel lease the land under some large settlements, while trading land in Israel for the absorption of other settlements.
Among the politics was the dust-up between Naftali Bennet and Benyamin Netanyahu, which some commentators traced to the resurgence of bad blood between Sara Netanyahu and Bennet. This time it concerned Bennet''s ridicule of Netanyahu''s proposal that some settlers should be accepted as citizens of Palestine. 
Bennet apologized in about the same way as Ya''alon apologized to John Kerry, i.e., if I offended the Prime Minister, then . . . . .

Mahmoud Abbas responded to the Netanyahu-Bennet kerfuffle with comments that he would welcome Israelis as citizens of Palestine. That was a turn around of 180 degrees, suggesting it was nothing more than tit for tat, and part of maneuvering to blame Israel for any failure in the Kerry process.
Abbas is also talking flexibly about Palestine not having an army, the IDF staying on for five years, and NATO troops being welcome.
Abbas also invited Israelis to see for themselves the new Palestine, by visiting Ramallah.
If doubters of Palestine had reason to pause, it was soon relieved by threats of another intifada, uttered by a senior Palestinian while on a mission to get money and support from Iran. An equally senior Palestinian claimed to be a descendant of the Caananites, which he posed as better than any Israeli claims for a historic right.
There is already pressure on Abbas not to compromise basic Palestinian interests, just as there is pressure from the Israeli right not to give up what God gave.
From a this-world perspective, there are also Israeli worries about trusting the Palestinians, and the Americans. Recent claims of success with respect to Syria and Iran, as well as the general American applause for Arab Spring have not added to the reputation of Washington policymakers among Israelis.
Both Israelis and Palestinians are accusing the Americans of tilting to the other side.
John Kerry has been no calmer. He is threatening Israel with an expansion of boycotts and the end of its security if it doesn''t go along. We hear that American officials have been even more involved in the explicit encouraging of boycott activities in order to increase pressures on Israel, but we are hearing a lot of things. The producers of disinformation may be working over time.
Senior Israelis responded with accusations that Kerry was threatening us, which brought instant responses from senior Americans that the Secretary was misunderstood.
Other things are not going well for America''s initiatives. Only a small percentage of Syria''s chemical weapons have been moved as promised, and larger amounts may be stored in the areas of Alawi population where Assad can count on cooperation. Kerry''s threats of UN sanctions if Syria does not comply seem empty against the support Assad has from Security Council veto holders Russia and China. 
Iran is not behaving any better. Key officials are committing themselves not to disassemble any of the machines that--according to American intelligence reports--have already brought them within easy reach of nuclear weapons.
As if he did not have enough on his plate, John Kerry has spoken of turning American efforts to solving whatever is wrong in the Ukraine. 
Tsipi Livni is claiming that there are hopeful signs in the process she has staked her future upon. She sat next to a Saudi prince at a meeting in Geneva, got warm praise from him, and traded praise by commending the languishing Saudi proposal, which Israelis in charge of things have ignored since it was issued 12 years ago.
Moderates are saying there are things in the American proposals for both sides, and that it differs little from what  Israeli governments offered in the past
If the Palestinians go along, they will have to write off the idea of refugees and their descendants returning to Israel, which they will have to concede is the state of the Jewish people.
We hear that the issue of Jerusalem is mentioned in the draft American proposal, with its solution left up to the parties.
Rome claims to be the Eternal City, but the battles over Jerusalem have been going on for longer.
What can we expect?
Beside a lot more noise, nothing else is clear.
Settlers should keep paying their utility bills, and put off calling the moving van.
The most serious downside is that Kerry will succeed only in disappointing both Israeli and Palestinians, and provoking the extremists. That will most likely mean an increase in Palestinian violence, eventual Israel responses, all to the tune of criticism from Americans claiming that they tried, and went home to Washington, or maybe only as far as Kiev.

Does the Nobel Committee award a booby prize?
We may find out.
 


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