Tag Archives: Abbas-Olmert

Bush Promises Peace Within A Year

President Bush laid out a clear blueprint for resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict that will be attained within a year. His plan depends upon both sides adhereing to promises that would lead to a compromise solution. The President made two points, Israel must end the occupation of the West Bank and there has to be creation of an independent Palestinian state. He is insisting Israel adhere to territorial guidelines based on the armistice lines of 1949 while Palestinians must agree to end demands for return of refugees.

President Bush’s ideas are not that different from those previosly proposed, but never attained. Among the issues Bush is not addressing is the presence of Hamas and other groups which are not part of the peace negotiations. If Abbas agrees to end demands for the right of refugee return and Hamas insists on fighting for that right, where does that leave peace negoations? The president has continually failed to grasp the importance of involving a wide sprectrum of Palestinians in any peace negotiation. Abbas simply lacks the power to make such an agreement without having support of other Paletinian groups.

Olmert And Abbas Work on Core Issues

Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams were instructed to focus on core issues such as Jerusalem, the refugees, and the contours of a future Palestinian state by Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. They want action and believe it must begin now. Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a member of the Olmert Cabinet, aid he would withdraw his party from the coalition government if discussions entailed core issues between the two groups. Olmert and Abbas met a day before the arrival of Bush in an apparent effort to offer the American leader some concrete news about progress on negotiations. Obviously, the security issue is central to resolution of the conflict and this continues to be a matter of debate. Secretary of State Rice told reporters from the Jerusalem Post that her administration opposes any further Israeli housing construction on either the West Bank or in east Jerusalem.

Both sides appear to be focusing on achieving some results rather than present President Bush with another explanation of why there is no progress. It is important Secretary of State Condi Rice made it clear to the Israel government that housing construction must cease on the West Bank and in east Jerusalem. On a hopeful note, nine Fatah gunmen surrendered to authorities and signed a pledge to cease any further attacks on Israelis.