Netanyahu's tarrying reflects a philosophical reluctance to embrace the land-for-peace process started by Yitzhak Rabin. "Rabin saw peace as a win-win proposition for both sides," says Beyer. "But Netanyahu approaches the peace process on the basis that Israel loses when the Palestinians gain." In other words, for Bibi, peace is the continuation of war by other means. Which means we may hear some pretty creative excuses before he orders home any Israeli troops.
Bibi Netanyahu never lacks for an excuse. He delayed a scheduled cabinet vote on the Wye peace accord Tuesday, claiming Yasser Arafat hadn't satisfied the security requirements of the Wye accord -- even though the U.S. has certified that the Palestinians are in full compliance. That's after postponing Israeli West Bank withdrawals on Monday, on the grounds that his cabinet hadn't yet approved them. "Netanyahu is under strong pressure at home and abroad to carry out the deal," says TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer. "But he has no enthusiasm for surrendering any territory to the Palestinians. He's looking for reasons to postpone it as long as possible."