On the morning of Oct. 2, one day after a meeting in Washington between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, the Americans were once again reacting to being taken by surprise by building plans for East Jerusalem. Reports of the plans emerged right before the two men were supposed to meet, at a very sensitive time. A White House spokesman used particularly harsh words to express the administration’s condemnation of the construction, stating that it was “poisoning the atmosphere.”
The US condemnation ended a very tough week for whatever was left of any hopes that the diplomatic process with the Palestinians would be revived. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the UN General Assembly, followed by Netanyahu’s speech before the same august body, dealt the final death knell to “peace talks.” The Palestinians announced that they would seek full recognition from the United Nations.