About Face

Palestinian President Pulls Out of Talks

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Thursday that he will not participate in peace talks with Israel following Israel's decision to expand Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. Earlier this week, in what observers saw as a rebuke to Vice President Joe Biden's visit, the Israeli government announced it would build 1,600 new homes in the West Bank. The about-face happened only days after Palestinians agreed to return to indirect talks—a move that likely would have made Biden's visit a diplomatic success. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau apologized for the timing of the announcement. Biden was scheduled to give an address at Tel Aviv University Thursday.