The Washington Post — too lazy to call Steve Clemons?

“U.S. tactics in Mideast talks criticized; Analysts say Obama should have stuck with call for settlement freeze.” So declares a headline in the print edition of today’s Washington Post.
But there’s a problem. The underlying story cites no analyst who argues that Obama should have stuck with his settlement freeze demand. The only person cited as taking that position is Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.
The story, by Janine Zacharia, does quote two analysts — Akiva Eldar, a commentator for Haaretz, and Aaron David Miller, described as a former U.S. peace negotiator. Eldar says that sticking with the demand for a three month freeze was pointless because no agreement would have resulted and the Obama administration would have had to offer more concessions to Israel to extend the freeze. He also argues that by not negotiating an extension of the West Bank freeze, Obama avoids having to give Netanyahu a seal of approval to build in East Jerusalem.
As for Miller, he is clear that “trying to get a freeze was always the wrong focus.” In his view, it forced Obama to either “pummel” or “bribe” the Israelis, and neither approach was going to succeed.
Thus, contrary to the Post’s headline, both analysts believe Obama was wise not to stick to his call for a settlement freeze. The Post may have mistaken the consensus among its reporters with some sort of a consensus among “analysts.”


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