a different side of Israel

Tag: Mahmoud Abbas (page 2 of 2)

Senior Israeli Officials Speak at IAF Graduation

At an
Israeli Air Force School Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority to reenter in negotiations on the Middle East peace process. It is expected that Abbas will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday, when the two leaders are expected to discuss the US-backed plan.
At the ceremony, Barak said this:

“We must explore every possibility to advance a regional peace arrangement, based on an agreement with our Palestinian neighbors, based on the Road Map, the concept of two states for two people, and a declaration of an end to this long running conflict.”

He added:

“We once again call on the Palestinian leadership and Mahmoud Abbas to show responsibility to his countrymen and to return to the negotiating table, in order to achieve the hoped for peace.”

Also present as the ceremony was IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. He pointed out the dangers and threats that the Jewish Country faces.

“At this very hour a number of threats are gathering, both near and far away.”

The IDF chief went on to say that

“standing against all these threats…are these same newly-minted pilots, along with the IAF family, to defend Israel.”

A Dangerous Game of Illusions

Palestine AuthorityLeaders of the Palestinian Authority are planning to launch a diplomatic campaign to gain world support for a Palestinian state. The state would include the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. The idea which Abbas is behind would be proposed to the United Nations, who would vote on acceptance of a sovereign Palestinian country, in the proposed regions.

Israel sees this as a threat to the grueling peace process. Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the Fatah Central Council in Ramallah said:

“The Israelis impeded negotiations, and therefore we are left with only this option in order to safeguard our national project…We have been left with no other choices and nothing to lose…How can Abbas or any other Palestinian leader survive in this context without political developments? This is the only thing we can offer our people now. The time is right.”
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “There is no substitute for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and any unilateral path will only unravel the framework of agreements between us and will only bring unilateral steps from Israel’s side.”

Another angle of the debate is the media factor. Who will be giving support to who and why?
Have a look:

So rather than bargain in good faith to build a viable accord, Saeb Erekat and Mahmoud Abbas are betting on an outside imposed solution. Their way will not bring reconciliation, mutual security and peace, but doom yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians to more bloodshed.

The policies of occupation, especially continuing settlement-building, have caused the failure of negotiations and have led the peace process to a gridlock… The idea of declaring the establishment of an independent Palestinian state has emerged strongly during this stage as a sole option. This is a legitimate right.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in Jerusalem yesterday but his words were aimed at Ramallah. The threat was explicit. Your unilateral steps will lead to unilateral steps on our part… In the end both sides threaten but they do not really mean it

The Palestinian leaders, especially those who have been supporting the Oslo accords, came to a consensus that 18 years have gone astray and that Israel has been stalling in order to achieve its goal, which entails setting up a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its eternal capital.

The strong Israel is afraid of weak Palestine. In reality, it is afraid of its own nightmares as expressed by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman… He sees that the establishment of a Palestinian state will push Israel back to the 1967 borders, only for the Palestinians to ask for autonomous rule in the Galilee and the Negev after that.

Netanyahu has returned to power after a decade and is again fighting a Palestinian threat to declare statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip… If Netanyahu acts correctly, he will again be able to take pride in his ability to foil Palestinian declarations of statehood, just as he did during his first term as prime minister.

Given the chaos in the region, such a UN vote as that which accepted Israel as a sovereign nation in 1948 is both premature and irresponsible. A state was given to the Palestinian people before further territories were captured by Israel forces in 1967. However the proposal went refused. To think that a new country, justified by a unilateral United Nations vote would not fall either immediately into a civil war or let power slip into the hands of Hamas, is insane. The plan spells war and why should Israel be forced to expose her sovereign territories like that?

Is Abbas Still The Boss?

abbasAt a meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to not run for re-election in January. The threat, says Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, is meant to be a warning to America and Zionists. He said:

“We advise him to … face the Palestinian people and tell them frankly that the path of negotiations has failed. Halt negotiations with the occupation and take practical steps toward reconciliation.”

Hamas and Abbas have led rival governments in Gaza and the West Bank for the last two years, after Hamas’s bloody and violent seizure of the coastal area in 2007.

Abbas cites frustration with the lack of progress in peace negotiations with Israel as his main reason for stepping down.

The Head of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Thursday, that they rejected Abbas’ announcement; and the presidents of Egypt and Israel, the king of Jordan and Israel’s defense minister all called Abbas on Thursday, urging him to reconsider.

The Palestinian consensus is that West Bank settlements are ruining their dream of independence. Some 500,000 Israelis now live in Samaria and East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim crucial for building their own independent state.

The Obama administration has not been able to pressure Israel to halt its construction in the “West Bank”. And if the U.S. cannot get Israel to budge on that, they will also fail in other negotiations involving the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

How Long will the Delay Game Continue?

bibi obama abbasA few days ago we saw the much anticipated tripartite meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, PM Netanyahu, and President Obama, in that usual stance where Israeli and Palestinian leader are clasping hands and the US leader is in the middle, hands outstretched, in that sort of “I know, deep down, you really do love each other,” type of body language.

rabin clinton arafatLet’s take a quick analysis of this picture, comparing it to the old one back in 1993. First of all, Obama looks a lot less happy then Clinton. Oh, but wait a minute: So does Abbas, and Bibi for that matter. They all look fairly miffed, like nobody really wants to be there, or they’re all constipated and need some fiber capsules. It’s hard to tell.

What’s really interesting, though, is that Israel is on the same side of the picture as she was in 1993. The left side. Abbas is on the right, as Arafat was. What is the significance of this? Take a look at any popular book on body language. What it will tell you is that to show the palm of your hand is an expression of capitulation, whereas to show the back of your hand is an expression of power and domination. When Bibi is on the left side of the picture, shaking Abbas’ hand with his right, he shows the back of his hand in the photograph. Abbas is left open-palmed and helpless.

I solute Bibi on this move, whether or not he did it accidentally.

But then again, it doesn’t really matter all that much. Nobody wanted to be in that picture in the first place anyway. And back home, everybody is griping about it. Following the meeting, Minister Without Portfolio (AKA Minister of Absolutely Nothing – there are a few of those in Bibi’s government) Benny Begin (son of the late PM Menachem Begin) called the chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat a “wild beast of a man” quoting the Bible in describing Ishmael.

Senior PA officials who came along with Abbas to New York called it something of a “complete failure,” in that Obama is reportedly no longer demanding a total settlement freeze from Israel. Further, Bibi and Abbas reportedly came back from the meeting with totally different conclusions, Bibi’s being that negotiations will proceed without preconditions, and Abbas’ being that negotiations will only resume after a total settlement freeze. At least they both came away with conclusions at all.

MK Danny Danon, a Likud lawmaker, said that now that Obama failed to obtain any concessions from Arab countries, Netanyahu must restart unlimited building in Judea and Samaria. That’s the right. And on the left…

Even Yossi Beilin, architect of the Oslo Accords and former Meretz chairman, is all hot and bothered. In his words, “It was clear that the participants were not enthusiastic about the meeting. It wasn’t a meeting of people who want to make peace.”

What would give you that idea? Could it be the looks on their faces? So I repeat the question posed in the title of this article. How long will this game of picture-taking and delay go on until somebody makes a move, somewhere, on some sort of principled stance involving any kind of conviction?

Could be a while. I wouldn’t count on anybody currently in office moving anywhere significant.

Sixty Six Percent Support Jerusalem Building

This month’s War and Peace Index is out. Who wants to know what Israelis think now? Unfortunately, that’s almost impossible, since polls can only give indications of trends, and minds change so quickly that it may actually be a good thing that the government falls every two years. People need to keep reassessing their decisions and do some nice zigzagging.

War IndexAnyway, here’s what the War and Peace Index found. 66% of respondents believe that building should continue everywhere in Jerusalem, since Jewish sovereignty over the city is indisputable. Those who disapproved of this idea were primarily Labor and Meretz voters, who don’t make up much of the electorate any more these days.

This data could prove, as they say in the media every other day, to be a “stumbling block for the peace process,” as Mahmoud Abbas yesterday suddenly announced that he is no longer interested in East Jerusalem. He now, as reported by Israel Hayom newspaper, wants the whole thing. Oof. I don’t think giving up the Jewish quarter would be such a popular hit these days in Jewish circles. Maybe we should keep it after all.

In terms of Barack Obama, 46% see him as pro Arab, 31% as neutral, and a whopping 7% as pro Israel. Why don’t these things ever add up to 100%?

What about Operation Cast Lead? That’s a little more confusing, and I don’t really understand it. Apparently, 43% believe soldiers accounts of the war (that they didn’t intentionally shoot civilians and things like that), but 47% do not. However, 76% are of the opinion that no further investigation into the war is required.

Almost half thing that fishy stuff when on, but three quarters don’t want to investigate anymore? This sounds a bit strange. Perhaps there was a loaded or tilted question in there that people got confused about.

Some Questions about the Fatah Convention

Fatah, the PLO faction group founded in 1954 by Yasser Arafat, is having its 6th general convention today. I have some questions about it. First, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas opened the festivities by condemning Hamas and saying that investigations are ongoing as to the cause of Arafat’s death.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS FATAH CONFERENCEQuestion: Why? The fact that he was old, decrepit, and suffering from latent Parkinson’s and just died, hasn’t really clinched it for them yet?

He then went on to say that Israel hasn’t kept its commitments to the United States, including giving up sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem and even parts of the Dead Sea.

Question: When was this? I can’t seem to recall when Israel made those promises to anyone. I can remember, though, when Israel actually offered them to the PLO and they refused.

Then things got more interesting. He continued: “Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law.”

Question: What resistance he’s talking about? Really, I’m curious. Peacefully picketing and civil disobedience? Or is it murdering innocent civilians? I’m just asking, because it’s unclear.

Jibril Rajoub, who used to be in charge of the PA police, then clarified and said that “armed resistance” is always an option, and that Israel must acknowledge that. So there goes nonviolent civil disobedience.

Question: What do you mean, Jibril by “acknowledge?” Does fighting back qualify? Or is acknowledgment only sitting around watching buses explode and retreating?

I’ll tell you what, Jibril. I will gladly acknowledge your resistance if you acknowledge Israel’s response to it. Then we can sit down over a cold beer, a la Obama, Gates, and Crowley at the White House and discuss mutual acknowledgment.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Barak said it was important that the platform produced by the delegates will be representative of a wide range of views.

Question: What range of views?

President Shimon Peres, mentioning the convention, said that the Palestinians must remember that like Israel, “they must stay committed to the Road Map and the path of negotiations.”

Question: What happens if they don’t, as in the past 9 years?

The only Israelis expected to attend the conference were MKs Ahmed Tibi and Taleb A-Sanaa (UAL-Ta’al) and Muhammad Barakei (Hadash).

Question: Why are Israeli Knesset members allowed to attend a summit about armed resistance against Israel?

Is anybody listening?

Jimmy Carter and the Two State Solution

Former US. President Jimmy Carter went on a three hour tour of Gaza on Tuesday, in which Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told him that “Hamas will accept the two state solution if Israel is ready to return to the former, pre-1967 boundaries”. Haniyeh also spoke to Carter about the case of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and said he welcomed Carter’s offer to mediate in this affair, which Haniyeh referred to as a “human and political episode we would all like to come to an end”.

Carter in GazaCarter was given a tour of areas where major damage had been inflicted during the January Operation Cast Lead military action, in which the former President said ” the severity of damage inflicted here has brought tears to my eyes”. Carter also said that the war had brought “death, destruction, pain and suffering to the people here”. He wasn’t taken on a tour of either Sderot or other places in Israel where the same terms could also be applied, however.

In regards to Gaza’s present situation, where most of the damage has been left in tact as a “showplace” for VIP visitors such as the former President, Carter said: “tragically, the international community ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are being treated more like animals than like human beings”.

But it was the remarks made by Haniyeh that his organization would be willing to accept a Palestinian state providing Israel open up the borders with Gaza and “accept a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders” that suddenly brought something very rational to light. When Dr. Haniyeh spoke about the “pre-1967 borders” he forgot that When Israel pulled out of the Strip in 2005, that part of Palestine was reverted back to the 1967 borders. So here is where a possible “two state solution” would work out beautifully! Why not create two Palestinian states, one in the West Bank, called East Palestine and controlled by Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization, and the other, West Palestine, controlled by Hamas. Haniyeh and his friends will get their wish in that their “little state” (as Israeli P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu referred to Palestine in his address on Sunday) will be 100% “within the pre-1967 borders”.

As for “East Palestine”, a territorial agreement will be worked out with Abbas and Co. taking the large Israeli settlement blocks into account. Israel will not have to pull out of the entire section of the West Bank and Jerusalem would remain united, with special consideration being given to the people of East Palestine for visiting, living in, and even having some governmental offices in the city’s eastern sectors. The Status of the Old City would remain as it is today, with Jews remaining in the Jewish Quarter and having full access to the Western Wall Plaza. The Wakf Islamic Trust would maintain control of Karim al Sharif , otherwise known as the Temple Mount.

This new “two state solution” should be acceptable to everyone, especially West Bank Palestinians (who really don’t like the Hamas people anyway – and vice versa). And as for Gaza, maybe they can get to rebuilding all the damage incurred to “their little state” which will not only provide jobs for a lot of Palestinian workers but result in their not having to keep all those piles of rubble lying around to “impress” gullible people like Jimmy Carter.

Rice In A Hot Winter

The rockets and violent exchange with Hamas have brought in Rice today. We haven’t seen her since the Bush visit in January and the promise of Middle East peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians before the end of his term – hmm.. hmm..
Well, now there is a little problem called Hamas.

Condi is still supportive of Israel;

“There has to be an active peace process that can withstand the efforts of rejectionists to keep peace from being made, the people who are firing rockets do not want peace… They sow instability, that is what Hamas is doing… Hamas is doing what might be expected, which is using rocket attacks on Israel to arrest a peace process in which they have nothing to gain”

Hot WinterBut, the Hamas control of Gaza is a problem and one that is increasingly making Mahmoud Abbas looking weak. Since Hamas can’t be negotiated with, there is no way to declare a cease fire because a cease fire with a terrorist organization would make Hamas the legit ruler of the PA. In affect cutting off Abbas completely.

Abbas himself is in a bind. He called off talks with Israel on Sunday and then called for a cease fire that he would be the mediator in on Monday. By being the mediator he could claim to be the peace maker and the political leader of the PA. Weather or not Hamas will let that happen remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, “Hot Winter” (the name for the current operation) is rolling along. Hamas is continuing with the rocket attacks on Sderot and in recent days Ashkelon. The military assault by both land and air continue and there is a feeling that they are taking their toll on Hamas. Givaati (the combat unit fighting in the South of Israel) commanders are happy with results. It seems that lessons were learned from the war in Lebanon and that troops have been able to operate well in a very complex environment.

Barak while visiting the North border, sent a message to the residents of Gaza, calling for a cessation of rockets attacks and acts of terror inside Israel. When such activities will cease, the road will open for a different reality of peaceful and neighborly coexistence between the two sides. The activity in Gaza will continue for some time – it will not be a quick solution.

Barak was in the North as part of a “house warming” for 1,700 bomb shelters that were renovated in the last 8 months. The renovation spanned the North of Israel and included Akko, Naharia, Tiberius, Carmiel, Qiryat Shmone, Tzfat, Maalot, Hazor HaGlilit and Shlomi…
Let’s hope we won’t need them….

Hat Tip Picture: Amir Cohen

Bethlehem Celebrates Brightest Christmas In Years

Bethlehem Celebrates Brightest Christmas In YearsThe Palestinian city of Bethlehem, located a few kilometers south of Jerusalem, may be celebrating its best holiday season in years. Reports from merchants and hotel reservation desks say that the number of pilgrims and tourists visiting the city of Jesus’ birthplace are at least 50% more than in 2006. Times haven’t been good for this biblical city made so popular by the event that supposedly took place about 2010 years ago, and tourism has been a far cry from what it was in prior years; especially in the “heady” years following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994. The city that used to see many thousands of foreign visitors converge on it during Christmas time became as still as the above words in the immortal poem by Father Philip Brooks in 1865.

Following the beginning of the Second Intifada Palestinian uprising in September 2000, foreign visits took a nose dive; and tourism was further complicated when a number of hard-line Palestinian militants held up in the Church of the Nativity for days before finally surrendering to Israeli army troops who were surrounding Manger Square. Once boasting a large Christian population, Bethlehem is now predominately Muslim. With the main source of income for the city being tourism, the city had fallen on hard times, and has only begun to show signs of recovery in the last couple of years. During the first few years following the historical handshake between Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the U.S. White House Lawn, Arafat himself and his wife, Sulha (a Christian) attended Christmas Eve midnight masses held in the Church of the Nativity. That all changed following the start of the Second Intifada when Arafat became a virtual prisoner in his West Bank Ramallah. headquarters.

To make matters worse, the Palestinian Authority has now been split into two parts, one in Gaza and under the control of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, and the other in the West Bank under the control of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas. Following some improvement in relations between Israel and Abbas’ Palestinian segment, tourism to Bethlehem has begun to improve, much to the relief of Bethlehem’s merchants, many of whom have shops in the center of town not far from Manger Square. Many of the items they sell are exclusively tailored for foreign Christian pilgrims including religious motifs carved from olive wood, jewelry and amulets, carpets and clothing with religious and other logos and slogans connected with the historical legend of the town. As Christmas is the most important time of the year for them, Bethlehem merchants have to bank heavily on a large influx of visitors to tide them through the lean months until summer when tourism again picks up for a while.

For those who want to purchase them, Palestinian flags, pictures of P.A. Authority and Charismatic Arab World leaders, and other nationalistic mementoes are also available.

One of the better hotels in Bethlehem, the Jacir Palace Intercontinental, reported that they are nearly full for the first time in years. “Yes, thank God, we have something to smile about this year”, said Farid, one of the hotel’s reception employees. Concerning what will be happening in the future, “it’s anybody’s guess” said Samir, another hotel employee. And rightly so, as current fighting between Israeli and Palestinian forces in Gaza could well spill over into the West Bank, including Bethlehem. Although the city of Christ’s birth has had fewer problems than other West Bank cities, including Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin, the situation there during the period immediately after the uprising in September, 2000 was very unpleasant, and the Church of the Nativity suffered considerable damage in the wake of its takeover by Palestinian militants.

Israeli border checkpoints have tried to make it easier for pilgrims to come and go this year as a good will gesture to President Abbas. Still, it isn’t like walking into the Old City in Jerusalem, which for many pilgrims has been an alternative Christmas season destination following the 2000 Palestinian uprising.

In any event, Christmas 2007 does seem to be much better for the citizens of Bethlehem, and is much improved over previous years. And for those who so much depend on this annual inflow of visitors, and foreign currency, they can only hope for the best.

Olmert Target of Assassination Plot

Israeli government plans to attend the upcoming Middle East conference in Annapolis Maryland next month have been complicated considerably by release reports that Palestinian Fatah gunmen had plotted to attack Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convoy during his meeting with P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas (photo) in Jericho last August. The disclosure, only released now, stated that members on the Palestinian Police force had planned to attack Olmert’s convoy when it approached the historic West Bank City for the first visit by an Israeli Prime Minister to a Palestinian controlled city.

The report, given by Shin Bet security head Yuval Diskin, contained information that several Palestinian gunmen belonging to Fatah, the Palestinian political organization, had made intensive plans to carry out the operation, and had conducted extensive surveillance operations on the route that the motorcade was going to take, once it entered Palestinian controlled territory. Although several suspects had been detained by P.A. police authorities, most have been released, further dampening relations between Israel and the P.A. The release of prime suspects in this affair, which was alleged to have been cancelled at the last moment, makes government officials wondering about the sincerity of Abbas’s government in entering into any kind of agreement with Israel.

“Israel will not ignore this attempt and look the other way” Olmert was reported to have said. Members of Olmert’s cabinet as well as numerous officials are new saying that with this in mind, the Israeli government should call off it’s participation in the meeting, scheduled to take place in only two week’s time. Israel Foreign Minister Zippy Livni was quoted as saying that the Palestinians had returned to a “revolving door policy in which they say something and do something entirely different altogether.

In addition, many Knesset members have told the Prime Minister that not only should Israel not sent a delegation to the conference, but should seriously reassess Israel’s relationship with Mahmoud Abbas and his government. Members of Olmert’s Kadima political party, including MK Zvi Elkin should halt all meetings with Abbas, and cease any cooperation with P.A. police and other government authorities until those suspects who were released from custody are re-arrested.

Olmert, who had only returned before the weekend from his brief meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and who is currently under police investigation for a number of “legal issues”, must now come to grips with an assassination attempt by members of Mahmoud Abbas’ own civil administration. Right winged Knesset members, especially those like National Union Chairman Effie Etam and National Religious Party Chairman Zvulun Orlev are demanding that Olmert sever relations with the P.A. altogether. Both men also said that Olmert should recite a special prayer of thanksgiving for being saved from possible assassination. National Union party member Ariyeh Eldad even went one step further by suggesting a prayer be said to rid the country of Ehud Olmert’s leadership as a result of his dealings with the Palestinians.

Whether the Prime Minister will heed this advice is anyone’s guess. But in any event, these disclosures have cooled the “atmosphere” considerably between Israeli and Palestinian officials. And down in Hamas controlled Gaza, Hamas leader and former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, must be enjoying these sudden turn in events.

Putting a positive spin on Hamas’s win

Saeb Erakat.
Saeb Erakat at the Muqata, February 25 2006. Photo by Lisa Goldman.

Saeb Erakat, the chief negotiator for the PLO, has written a fascinating op-ed piece for the New York Times. In it he explains why he, a supporter of Mahmoud Abbas, does not view Hamas’s victory in the recent Palestinian elections as a setback for peace and democracy in the Middle East.

Of course Erakat manages to slip in a “blame Israel” (such a surprise!) for the routing of Fatah, but he does admit that Fatah needs to do some internal housecleaning in order to regain the voters’ trust. He also seems to think that Hamas’s Islamist platform does not represent the views of the majority of the people, and that Hamas will therefore find it rough going trying to implement sharia (Islamic law) in the West Bank.

Read the whole thing, below, to find out why.

What the P.L.O. Has to Offer

Jericho, West Bank

MANY have argued that Hamas’s winning of a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament provides yet another setback for peace and democracy in the Middle East. Some have even suggested that it vindicates Israeli unilateralism. I, however, think the opposite is true: A negotiated and lasting peace may now be closer than many of us could have imagined just weeks ago.

The parliamentary elections could be seen as a referendum on the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, who came to office a year ago after winning nearly two-thirds of the popular vote. Mr. Abbas ran on a platform of job creation, internal security and a negotiated resolution of the conflict with Israel based on two states living side by side in peace.
Continue reading

Abbas Depressed or Exhausted

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas denied reports of being depressed and justified his condition as just being exhausted because of his elections
campaign work. He also hinted at the same time that he might resign if the government formed after the nearing parliament elections will oppose his policies, including peace talks with Israel.

Abbas also reacted to Olmert’s statement calling for the resumption of the peace negotiations with the Palestinians, after the elections and once they dismantle the militant groups. Abbas is willing to meet Olmert as soon as possible, adding that negotiations is the only way for peace and not unilateral actions and assassinations.

Abbas intentionally avoided the condition mentioned by Olmert of dismantling the militant groups, which he refuses to do. Abbas’s “depression” is probably justified judging by the political mess he is in, his Fatah movement is plagued by corruption, Palestinian areas are increasingly chaotic recently, questioning his government’s ability to control the situation, or for that matter follow through on his commitments in any peace talks.

On the other hand the militant Hamas seems to gain popularity and is posing a strong challenge to the ruling Fatah party, inevitably earning seats in the new government after the vote, which in turn will put future peace negotiations with Israel on ice for a long time to come. No wonder Abbas feels depressed under the circumstances, I would too.

Slick Willie Does Jerusalem!

By Denis Schulz

Ex-president William Jefferson Clinton has been out of the loop for about five years now. That’s a long time for a politician but he still gets around quite well for a gentleman of his advanced years. He was in Jerusalem last week to honor the late Yitzhak Rabin on the 10th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination. On Saturday (Nov. 12) Slick Willie spoke to an admiring throng at the King David Hotel. These are not his exact words but they are close and may well reflect his inner thoughts.

Continue reading

Newer posts

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑