US officials said on Tuesday they had dropped efforts to persuade Israel to stop settlement construction on captured land that Palestinians seek for a state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said this was crucial for direct talks to resume.
. Crowley said the US decision on settlements marked a recognition of reality. “We thought that this had in a sense become an end in itself rather than become a means to an end,” Crowley said. “We’re going to focus on the substance and try to begin to make progress on the core issues themselves, and we think that will create the kind of momentum that we need to see to get to sustained negotiations.”