During his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat on September 23, President Clinton responded to a reporter who asked whether he would like to be the US President who helped achieve a Palestinian state by saying, "The question of the state is one to be resolved in the permanent status talks that have just begun. I think, obviously, the two sides will make an agreement on that or there wonât be an agreement." (New York Times, September 24, 1999). Days later it was reported that, in only its first three months in office, the newly installed Israeli government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak has sought bids for the construction of 2,600 new housing units in various West Bank settlements. The previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu had authorized "only" 3,000 new homes each year. President Clintonâs evasiveness and the accelerated pace of West Bank settlement construction illuminate the nature of the final status talks now underway between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.