More likely than not, it's up to the U.S. to make the next move. To embarass Netanyahu into being more flexible, Madeleine Albright is considering Palestinian demands to go public with the American peace plan -- in which Washington insists on a minimum 13 percent West Bank withdrawal. Failing that, the U.S. could simply suspend its mediation efforts and cut Israel's main link to the world at large. Not that anyone at the State Department is optmistic about their chances: James Rubin described the gap between the two sides as a "chasm." That's the understatement of the London talks.
Land negotiations are a tricky business, and the Mideast talks now under way in London are no exception. But when the two leaders aren't even planning to meet, let alone talk percentages, even the most optimistic observer could be forgiven for abandoning hope. Emerging from his first one-on-one with Tony Blair, Bibi Netanyahu told reporters Israel had gone "well beyond the extra mile" for peace and would not be moved from their offer to relinquish 10 percent of the West Bank. Yasser Arafat's delegation, meanwhile, seem to have misplaced their diplomatic skills: Envoy Afif Safieh described Netanyahu as "a pyromaniac on a powder keg."