Three months ago, amidst publicity and Bush appearing as an apostle of peace in the Middle East, several nations were brought together to create a guide line for the future. Hamas was not invited to the conference because of their terrorist and violent stance. Three months have passed involving ongoing discussions between Prime Minister Olmert of Israel and President Abbas of Palestine. Today, Mahmoud Abbas admitted, while he was committed to peace as a means of negotiation, and “I can not support a return to armed struggle at this point in time. But, at a later date, this could be an option for the Palestinian people.” He believes Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a dangerous crossroads which must either lead to peace or to further violence.
Abbas argued that Hamas also supports negotiation, but obviously they are not part of discussions. He also hinted if peace is not achieved in the coming months he would have no option other than resigning as president. Abbas is greatly concerned about a possible Israel invasion of Gaza which would result in hundreds of casualties and, most probably, compel him to abandon any further peace negotiations.
The government of Qatar has offered to broker peace talks between Hamas and Israel. this option must be explored because until Kassam rocket attacks cease, the danger of a large scale Israel invasion of Gaza looms large on the horizon.