A Washington correspondent for Israel's Channel 10 television station has quoted a White House source as saying that the main current obstacle to the resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
The source also stated that the US administration had obtained what it required of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and that the time had come to put pressure on the Palestinian side to engage in direct negotiations with Israel.
In a related context, today Netanyahu met with the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, to discuss the readiness of the Israeli army to face "risks from the east" as well as security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority within the framework of a future settlement.
According to Israeli media, Netanyahu expressed to Gates Israeli anxieties in the wake of the current changes in the Middle East. Particularly the growth of Iranian calls for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in the coming year.
The two parties also discussed ways of preserving Israel's "qualitative" military superiority in the Middle East.