here's a (speculative) explanation of the state of play between israel and the u.s., as represented by kerry's speech later today. the obama admin and kerry specifically wanted - as every american administration wants - to do an israeli/palestionian deal before the end of the admin: a suddenly swelling desire for a legacy. netanyahu is not going negotiate jack shit, alright? hilarious posturing notwithstanding. so: they tried to force netanyahu to the table by threatening to vote for the settlement resolution, or abstain, allowing it to pass. netayahu, let's say, merely sneered. so they felt they had to pay off.