About-Face for Abbas Who Agrees to Meet Olmert
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas agreed to resume talks with Israel's PM Ehud Olmert, next week. The agreement came following talks with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in Jordan.
Abbas pulls out of Middle East peace talks with Israel's government over Gaza action
The current round of talks aimed at a peace treaty by year's end are now on hold following Israel's military actions in Gaza.
Mahmoud Abbas has taken the largely symbolic step to protest Israel's military incursion into Gaza to prevent further rocket attacks on Sderot and Ashkelon.
According to a story on the BBC World News site, the Palestinian president is seen as increasingly ineffective in the face of Israel's overwhelming ability to use force.
The Director-General of the Geneva Initiative, Gadi Baltiansky made a plea for positive attitudes across the board to the imminent negotiations. Last month he wrote,
In her speech in New York on September 24, [Israeli] Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that now is the time. We have been given an historic opportunity for turning the two-state vision into reality, she said, and the next generations won’t forgive us if we fail.
She is right. The current generation won’t forgive either, because the price of failure may be terrible. The peace-loving Palestinians—and this is the majority on their side—will argue they have no partner on the Israeli side, and the only horizon they will see is the one of the fence, roadblock, and settlement. Meanwhile, peace-loving Israelis—and they are the majority on our side—will sink deeper into despair, and with it we shall see the sinking of the hope for a normal Jewish and democratic state.
Baltiansky was Press Secretary to Ehud Barak and a negotiator at talks with the Syrians and the Palestinians. He will speak twice this week (November 8 and 9) at the University of Denver’s Institute for the Study of Israel in the Middle East.