Palelstinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Jordanian reporters in Amman that “a top Israel official is sabotaging the peace talks with Israel over internal matters and due to a personal hostility towards me.” He apparently was referring to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. On Monday, Abbas contradicted an earlier statement by Barak and insisted a cease fire had been reached between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He claimed Hamas leaders wanted a cease fire because they feared for their lives. However, Hamas spokesperson Sami ABu Zuhri, insisted: “Hamas leaders seek martyrdom and would never bargan over the blood of their people like others do.”
The reality is there has been an end to rocket attacks in the Gaza area and Israel has ceased its bombing. President Abbas raised important points concerning the peace process which were stated in clear terms by Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia, “Israel must freeze construction in areas claimed by Palestinians in order to get peace talks back on track.” Olmert’s decision to give in to Orthodox Jewish demands for more housing construction on the West Bank can only damage efforts to achieve peace. There must be an end to housing construction as was promised to Palestinians.