Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Abbas presses Israel on core issues

Comment:The pressure rises the closer we get to the November meeting-as predicted. This week Abbas is using threats without calling them threats. I have several questions for the international community and for Mr. Abbas. What should we expect in return for stating the time line you so desperately want? Do you have any responsibility related to this November meeting, what are you willing to offer Israel? What is the real reason you "need" to have a time line-is there something you have promised your constituents in Arabic that we don't know? Have you cut a deal with Hamas in exchange for the time line? You are telling us, the world that in exchange for no time line there will be violence-doesn't this mean that you have no ability to control your constituents? If you do not have the ability to stabilize the behavior why should we do business with you? Now read the story...

Unless all the issues at the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not solved, violence will break out anew in two or three years, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned Tuesday. Israel Radio reported that Abbas also said that a planned US-sponsored Middle East parley in Annapolis, Maryland, has been scheduled for November 15, but that the date was not yet final.
Meanwhile,the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, said Tuesday there would be no talks with Israel unless a deadline was set for establishing a Palestinian state.
Palestinian officials have repeatedly said they want a detailed time line for talks that are expected to begin in earnest after the Annapolis parley. The comment by Ahmed Qurei was the first indication that Palestinians could scuttle negotiations altogether if that demand isn't met.
"The Israeli prime minister [Ehud Olmert] has stated that he will not accept a timetable, and we say we will not accept negotiations without a timetable," Qurei said at a news conference with the EU's external affairs commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
On Sunday, the Kuwaiti newspaper Mishka al-Ray quoted Abbas as saying, "[Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert is serious about reaching a deal but there are many disagreements over final status."
Head of the Fatah faction in the Palestinian parliament, Azam el-Ahmad, was less optimistic about the prospects of reaching an agreement with Israel, saying that negotiations had reached a dead end.
"There has not been an agreement on any issue," said Ahmad, defining the outcome of the recent talks as a "big round zero." He added that if the situation did not improve, the Annapolis conference would not take place, Israel Radio reported.

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