In his Turtle Bay blog at Foreign Policy, Colum Lynch writes that though it was “a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal,”

The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” . . . But the Palestinians rejected the American offer [though it] remained unclear whether the Palestinian move . . . is simply a negotiating tactic aimed at extracting a better deal from Washington.

Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements.

Lynch adds:

The U.S. concession comes as the Middle East is facing a massive wave of popular demonstrations that have brought down the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.

Cause and effect? What do Focal Points readers think?

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