Political sources in Jerusalem said the U.S. is placing significant pressure on Israel to complete its withdrawal from the border village of Ghajar before the Lebanese elections in order to strengthen the Siniora government.This of course follows the years of Israel strengthening Abbas to the point that he has become the strong leader he is today--revered by his people, respected by Hamas, and revered by the Western world. Well, the last might almost be true.
Christian Science Monitor, July 2, 2003:
The subtle campaign to bolster AbbasAnd nothing says support for Abbas like releasing terrorists (August 5, 2003):
Bush tries to solidify Palestinian leader's position without making it look like he's tool of Washington.
A summit between Palestinian and Israeli leaders was cancelled today as the US-backed road map to peace ran into further trouble.Two years later, Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on January 9, 2005.
Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were due to meet but both sides are understood to be angry over recent developments.
Palestinian sources said their side had pulled out because of Israel's decision to release 440 Palestinian prisoners - about 100 fewer than originally thought - and with few long-term prisoners among them.
ABC News on February 9, 2005:
Commentary: Action Needed to Bolster AbbasUnited States, Israel Need to Engage and Offer More Than Compliments and EncouragementBy June 3, 2005:
Inmates freed to bolster AbbasObviously, it didn't take long at all to realize the need to strengthen an obviously weak leader, but that never stopped the pressure on Israel to do more and more to make Abbas look good in the eyes of his people. But if the need to unilaterally strengthen Abbas is so great, what good is he to either the US or Israel now--and how great a danger will he be to whatever status quo is foisted upon Israel should a Palestinian state be created?
Israel released 398 Palestinian prisoners yesterday in an attempt to support Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.
Mr Abbas, who came out of hospital yesterday after heart surgery, faces difficulties because Palestinians believe his election has not led to any real improvement in their lives or an easing of the occupation.
The prisoner release is the second by Israel this year but critics claim it consists mainly of petty criminals and those near the end of their sentences. Few are political activists or those convicted of political violence against Israel.
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