Clinton works the phones, to no avail

Secretary Clinton worked the phones assiduously this weekend, and held talks with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, but to no avail: The 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank expired at midnight local time (6 p.m., U.S. Eastern time). The New York Times reports that her last-minute efforts at getting the moratorium extended ...

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary Clinton worked the phones assiduously this weekend, and held talks with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, but to no avail: The 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank expired at midnight local time (6 p.m., U.S. Eastern time). The New York Times reports that her last-minute efforts at getting the moratorium extended included two phone calls today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and another with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now representative of the Middle East "quartet." Describing talks between U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian officials this weekend, an unnamed U.S. official told the Associated Press, "They are talking. Intense efforts are ongoing."

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has said he'll leave the peace talks that Clinton launched this month if the mortorium isn't extended, said he'll wait until after Oct. 4's Arab League meeting to decide what to do.

The ending of the moratorium has got to be a disappointment for Clinton. For now, the talks are limping ahead, writes my colleague Blake Hounshell. Hopefully, Clinton and U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell will find a way to help get the talks back on solid footing and moving steadily toward a lasting peace.

Secretary Clinton worked the phones assiduously this weekend, and held talks with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, but to no avail: The 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank expired at midnight local time (6 p.m., U.S. Eastern time). The New York Times reports that her last-minute efforts at getting the moratorium extended included two phone calls today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and another with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now representative of the Middle East "quartet." Describing talks between U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian officials this weekend, an unnamed U.S. official told the Associated Press, "They are talking. Intense efforts are ongoing."

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has said he’ll leave the peace talks that Clinton launched this month if the mortorium isn’t extended, said he’ll wait until after Oct. 4’s Arab League meeting to decide what to do.

The ending of the moratorium has got to be a disappointment for Clinton. For now, the talks are limping ahead, writes my colleague Blake Hounshell. Hopefully, Clinton and U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell will find a way to help get the talks back on solid footing and moving steadily toward a lasting peace.

(In the Sept. 26 photo above, settlers in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Netafim mark the end of the moratorium by pouring a cement cornerstone for a new kindergarten.)

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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