Stopping the momentum of construction and settlement expansion in the West Bank is not an Israeli concession to the Americans or the Palestinians. Rather, it is in Israel’s own interest. The time has come to put an end to the huge wastes of the settlement project, which only damages Israel diplomatically and security-wise, deepening the conflict and threatening to cause the two-state solution to fail. Netanyahu also seems to grasp the diplomatic reality, even if he is still not prepared to say so, as evinced by his decision not to issue new construction permits in the settlements, even without a formal declaration of a construction freeze.
If Netanyahu wants an agreement with the Palestinians, as he promised, he must save his political strength for the unavoidable conflict with his partners on the right – not wear it down in detrimental feuding with the United States.