Jerusalem – The summit meeting that was held Monday in Jerusalem failed to produce any major headlines in the local newspapers in Israel.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that a future Palestinian national unity government would be obliged to accept the three threshold conditions that were set by the Quartet if it wanted to be recognized.
Abbas reportedly asked that the United States and Israel recognize the new government for a “test period,” but the Israeli media reports that Olmert rejected that option.
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed press reports about a two-month-old Jordanian effort to mediate a final status arrangement deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan, which also would have promoted normalized relations between Israel and Jordanian King Abdullah, were scuttled by the Mecca agreement, since they hinged upon a clear distinction between Fatah and Hamas governments that recently joined.
PA chairman Abbas left yesterday for Jordan and Europe in an attempt to obtain support for the agreement he made with Hamas. Officials of Abu Mazen’s bureau say that he will meet with high-ranking officials in Great Britain, France and Germany and will try to convince them to accept the Mecca Agreement which will include Hamas in their government.
Despite the lack of progress in the summit, all indications are that Israel will continue to hold talks about a future Palestinian state with PA Chairman Abbas even if the new Palestinian national unity government with Hamas does not recognize Israel and does not combat terrorism.
Palestinian sources related a harsh exchange that occurred between Olmert and Abbas in the course of the meeting.
According to the report, Olmert was upset and said to Abbas: “You deceived me by going with Hamas.” In response, Abbas said: “you didn’t give me anything, and you didn’t keep your promises. We had battles that were on the verge of a civil war, and I had no choice but to opt for the Mecca agreement.” The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to this report.
Despite the testy exchange, Olmert said that he had no intention of sealing the Israeli channel of discourse with the Palestinians via Abbas and said that Abbas would continue to be a partner for talks with Israel.
Egypt Becomes Leading Source Of Fatah Weapons
The Middle East Newsline has revealed that Egypt has become the leading source of weapons for the Fatah movement headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Egyptian security sources said the regime of President Hosnai Mubarak has offered to send thousands of light weapons, ammunition and communications equipment to forces loyal to Abbas.
The sources said that the weapons, along with training, would be deployed for an estimated 30,000 troops loyal to Abbas in Gaza.
On Dec. 27, Egypt sent 2,000 rifles, 20,000 magazines and 2 million rounds of ammunition to Abbas forces. The sources said the Fatah-aligned troops received Soviet-origin AK-47 assault weapons from Egyptian Army surplus.
At the urging of the United States, Israel has agreed to the Egyptian weapons supply. For the last 18 months, Israel rejected weapons shipments from abroad until the PA demonstrated it willingness to end missile strikes from the Gaza Strip.
Since Fatah currently takes credit for missile attacks on Israeli cities, it remains a mystery as to why the U.S. government considers Egypt a reasonable supplier of weapons to terrorists.
It calls into question the judgment of American and Israeli intelligence officials who have given approval to Egypt’s transfer of weapons to a terrorist entity.
©The Bulletin 2007