Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Monday, December 25, 2006

The test is yet to come

The test is yet to come
By Haaretz Editorial

The meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was too little, too late. It was too late because Olmert waited for a year before inviting the Palestinian leader to a work meeting. And it was too little because in the year that has passed, the political standing of both figures has been seriously weakened.
The Palestinian Authority is being torn apart in an internal struggle and is on the verge of civil war, while Olmert has lost public support and is worried about potentially destabilizing his coalition. Under such conditions, despite the importance of the meeting, the two leaders will have a hard time turning it into a real political process.
Olmert depicted the meeting with Abbas as a first step in implementing the political initiative he raised four weeks ago in his Sde Boker speech. The prime minister made an offer to Abbas at the time to begin a political process that would include "the evacuation of many territories and communities established therein," the establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity in the West Bank, and the release of many prisoners. Since that speech, serious international pressure has been exerted on Olmert and Abbas to forgo their preconditions and agree to talk. Israel must show it is standing with Abbas and Fatah in their confrontation with Hamas.
Ahead of the meeting, Abbas conceded his demand that prisoners be released, and Olmert conceded his demands for a new Palestinian government and the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. The prime minister also took a political risk in his decision to show restraint in the face of continuing Qassam fire from Gaza, despite pressure from Defense Minister Amir Peretz and other ministers to resume Israel Defense Forces activities there. Olmert's policy of restraint enabled the meeting to take place, an eventuality that was in doubt until the last moment.
The gestures that Olmert promised his guest at the Prime Minister's Residence - primarily unfreezing PA funds and removing roadblocks in the West Bank - are important and appropriate, but we must address them cautiously. Experience shows that Israel has promised repeatedly to provide relief for the Palestinian population that is not involved in terror, but it has never upheld such steps over time. This time it was clarified from the beginning that the gestures would be miserly: Olmert said that no prisoners would be freed before Shalit's release, and only some of the PA funds would be unfrozen, subject to the establishment of a supervisory mechanism. But even if the gestures are made, they will not be enough to strengthen Abbas' unstable position and shift the Palestinian public's support from Hamas to Fatah.
Olmert's test will therefore lie in his ability to continue the political process beyond a single meeting and initial gestures. Only if he perseveres with the process, sticks to his words and isn't deterred by difficulties will the Sde Boker initiative make progress and even be implemented. Olmert's remark at the cabinet meeting yesterday that he would consider freeing prisoners in honor of the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha, even before Shalit is returned, was the first step in the right direction.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory