According to Saleh Al-Naami, reporting from Gaza, a majority of Arab newspapers are wartning Presdient Abbas, head of Palestine, that accepting Israel-American proposals without significant changes will result in large scale opposition to his authority. Statements by Prime Minister Olmert that 2008 is not an obligatory date for Israel to complete negotiations with the PA or by his deputy, Avigdor Lieberman, who suggested that even the end of 2008 may not be an appropriate date to complete negotiations, raise fears among Palestinians about how serious is Israel to work out a compromise. Palestinians are able to draw upon concerns of Israel human rights advocates about continuing construction of housing in West Bank settlements, and the failure to take action against settlers who build without permits from army authorities.
Palestinian critics believe the Bush administration is biased toward Israel and not it has withdrawn a non-binding resolution proposal from the UN Security Council supporting the outcome of the Annapolis meeting. There apparently is increasing pressure on Abbas to resume negotiations with Hamas in order to present a unified Palestinian front. Nehad Al-Sheikhh Khalil, a Palestinian writer, argues, ‘following Annapolis, Palestinian public opinion is increasingly convinced that we are on the threshold of a new catastrophe(Nakba), granting legitimacy to Israel’s plans for mass population transfers now that Bush has characterized Palestine as the national homeland of the Jews.”
This writer argues it is time to recognize the inability of the Bush administration to serve as an objective mediator in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. We suggest that Turkey assume the role of mediator since it has excellent relations with both Israel and Arab nations. Bush has squandered any opportunity to be a neutral third party. In the end, neither the United States nor the UN Security Council can arrive at a just compromise which enables all parties to the conflict to believe they have attained a significant attainment of goals. A “compromise” means just that– each side must give up something it desires. We believe it is of paramount importance that the security of Israel as a nation must be guaranteed as well as its protection from terrorist actions. In turn, we believe Israel must withdraw from West Bank settlements and allow Palestinians to assume control of East Jerusalem. All religious centers must be respected as well as the right to pray in them. We also believe there is need for creation of education committees which would work to eliminate hate from school textbooks and pick up on the Turkish proposal for creation of a Middle Eastern Peace University which would include people of all faiths.