Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Olmert and Abbas: Matching Bookends?

Arutz Sheva notes that at the December 23 meeting between Olmert and Abbas, Israel made a number of concessions--including the transferal of $100 million of frozen tax revenues, the easing of travel restrictions, and the increasing of the number of work permits for Palestinian Arabs who want to enter the pre-1967 areas of Israel.

And Abbas?
There were no apparent concessions offered by Abbas, other than to reiterate his full support of the November 26th ceasefire between Israel and the PA, which has thus far been violated more than 70 times by Arab terrorists.
Where would Israel be without Abbas' full support of the ceasefire?

It is common to think that Abbas is a clever negotiator who is holding back from conceding anything, while taking advantage of Olmert to get the maximum number concessions.

Could it be that Abbas, is inept and incapable of doing anything but parrot the same talk of wanting peace and making ceasefires, while Olmert for his part just repeats the same 2 lines of how serious Israel is about peace and how serious Israel is about reacting to aggression.

Abbas has no control on what is going on and may have placed himself in an embarrassing predicament:
The embattled PA chairman is struggling with increasing internecine violence, and in addition, he is liable not to be his Fatah faction’s chosen candidate in the early elections he himself has called. [emphasis added]
This of course has not stopped the oblivious Abbas from recently making a statement to the press:
“We have proposed the idea of back channel talks… and with the participation of members of the Quartet (U.S., Russia, United Nations and European Union)… with the aim of discussing the final phase.” [emphasis added]
Discussing the final phase when the first phase--stopping the terrorist attacks--is par for the course for Abbas.

Olmert, too, seems oblivious to the seriousness of the situation and how far things have gone out of control:
“A directive has been given to the defense establishment to take pinpoint action against rocket-launching squads,” said Olmert in a statement by his office. “Israel will continue to maintain the ceasefire and work with the PA so that immediate steps are taken to halt the Kassam firings.”

Since then, ten rockets were fired on Friday, one on Saturday, and, according to some reports, one today.
Question: When Rice held separate meetings with Abbas and Olmert back in November "during which she helped prepare them to meet with each other"--just what was she orchestrating? Was she prepping each of them for this play we are now watching?

Rice is supposedly going to be coming back to the area shortly.
What should we be expecting in the next act, now that the Road Map has become a Road Show?

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