a different side of Israel

All Smiles: Olmert and Abbas Meet Despite Continued Bloodshed

By Maurice Picow

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s meeting with P.A. Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Petra, Jordan, appeared great from a public relations point of view. However, present circumstances, including the confrontation between IDF ground forces and Palestinian terrorists, show that a lot more needs to done before all those hugs and duo-cheek kisses eventually pan out into something more realistic.

Sunday’s Gaza attack, in which an IDF amour unit was attacked by a group of terrorists armed with RPG’s, explosives, and a variety of small arms, has resulted in two IDF soldiers being killed and at least one soldier kidnapped. This attack followed on the heels of an earlier confrontation in which at least 4 Palestinian terrorists were killed while in the process of trying to infiltrate into Israel to carry out a terror attack. Judging from the amount of weapons found on these men, including explosives, their intensions were plainly evident.

Olmert’s arranged meeting with Abbas, brought about largely through the efforts of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, finally enabled the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to get together after several previous scheduled meetings were cancelled. Obviously, it was a bit difficult for these two to meet, when so many Kassam missiles were being launched by Palestinian ‘militiamen’ and Israeli forces were reciprocating with numerous ‘selective’ air and ground strikes, resulting in a number of Palestinian civilians being killed and wounded.

The overall climate is now very murky with today’s attack causing the Israeli ministerial cabinet to meet in emergency sessions, and blame for this latest event placed on the shoulders of both Ismail Haninyah, the P.A. Prime Minister, and on Abbas as well. Abbas, despite his possible good intentions, doesn’t seem to have much influence on the Hamas Party Prime Minister and his ministers, all of whom also come from Haninyah’s same religious and political camp.

Both Egyptian President Hosnei Mubarek, as well as Jordan’s King Abdullah, are probably a bit worried about these recent developments, to say the least. Israel’s newly formed government must now rise up to these new challenges, and Amir Peretz, Israel’s Defense Minister now faces an even bigger test than just dealing with the barrages of Kassams, many of which have fallen on his home town of Sderot.

When aging rock star Roger Waters and his Pink Floyd group did their gig at Neveh Shalom last Thursday night, he attracted a lot of attention by visiting the security wall that now separates much of Israel from the West Bank, an area still being contested by both Israel and the Palestinians. Waters wrote a message on the wall; a message which he integrated into the performance he put on later that night. His message to all who were present was the hope that the wall would someday be torn down, just as other controversial walls (including the Berlin Wall) had been for the sake of peace.

Despite his good intentions, and the favorable responsible he received from the more then fifty thousand who attended the concert, the walls of hate and fear seem to be fixated more than ever. One wonders if these ‘walls’ of hate will ever be torn down, in light of recent events.

1 Comment

  1. I hope that more and more who are “in the spotlight” will continue to bring attention to the situation.

    Pink Floyd! He was right in the Moody Blues era, Didn’t listen much to Pink Floyd, but loved the Moody Blues.

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