The London based Arabic newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, claims Prime Minister Olmert is reporting significant progress has been made between President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on issues related to the return of refugees, border and security concerns. Olmert has made clear the topic of Jerusalem will be left to the end of negotiations because its future is a “volatile” one. Likud leader, Benyamin Netanyahu, told visiting French President Sarkozy that under no conditions will Jerusalem be divided in any final peace settlement.
Olmert said it was unlikely Israel would hammer out an agreement with Syria which results in opening embassies in both nations while Syria continues having close relations with Iran. He also insisted his nation could not tolerate a nuclear armed Iran and would take steps to prevent this from happening.
Palestinian leaders will undoubtedly insist east Jerusalem be the capital of an independent Palestinian nation. There are many ways to ensure the right for people of all faiths to enjoy access to religious sites while allowing Palestinians the right of making Jerusalem their capital. Olmert’s comments concerning Iran can only be addressed when major powers sit down with Iran for an all-encompassing resolution of issues. A new American president is needed for that to happen.