By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
"....Washington is said to be quietly working on possible negotiating parameters but meeting resistance from Israel. Used to pressure from Israel, but much less so from the Palestinians, the US may be disinclined to harden its line in those discussions. Of course, there are Fatah alternatives to Mr Abbas, most enticingly the more charsimatic Marwan Barghouti who might be much better placed to sell a deal if and when one is struck. But Mr Barghouti is in jail; and there is little sign that the Netanyhau government is ready to free him to become its "partner."
The "terms of reference" for negotiations which Mr Abbas spelt out on Thursday are not ones the West can easily disagree with, and Washington would do well not be too dismissive of them. As the Israeli commentator Ben Caspit wrote yesterday in Maariv: "Anybody mocking Abu Mazen today will be missing him tomorrow.""