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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who will represent the 'Palestinians'?

It seems that Israel is not the only party that is unhappy about the Annapolis conference mugging. The 'Palestinians' aren't happy about it either, because the negotiating team is the same one that 'failed' them at Camp David by not getting 'enough' from Israel.
The letter, addressed to Abbas, was written by Hussam Khader, a Fatah legislator from the Balata refugee camp near Nablus who is serving a seven-year sentence for his role in terror-related activities. Until his arrest by the IDF in March 2003, Khader, who belongs to the young guard in Fatah, was known as one of the most outspoken critics of corruption in the PA.


In his letter, which is said to have won the approval of hundreds of Fatah prisoners in Israeli jails, Khader criticized Abbas for choosing "unreliable" figures to negotiate with Israel ahead of and during the US-sponsored conference. Khader's message to Abbas was: Before going to negotiate with Israel, you must clean up the mess in Fatah, get rid of all the symbols of corruption and pave the way for the younger generation to have a larger say in decision-making.

Referring to the composition of the Palestinian negotiating team, which is headed by former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei [Abu Ala], Khader wrote: "It's inconceivable that we should see the same people who had failed in the past, and who had sold our people false promises, conduct the negotiations today with Israel."

Calling on Abbas to hold internal elections in Fatah, Khader also warned the PA leader against attending the conference before resolving his dispute with Hamas.

The latest letter is a sign of the huge challenges facing Abbas only weeks before the conference is due to take place. Not only is he being openly challenged by Hamas on the issue of the conference, but now the criticism is coming even from members of his own faction, as well as many other Palestinians with different political affiliations.
Apparently there are more people who would like to see the 'conference' delayed:
The pressure on Abbas is not coming only from Palestinians, but from Arab countries. The Egyptians, Jordanians and Saudis are also in favor of delaying the conference because of their conviction that the gap between Israel and the Palestinians remains as wide as ever. These "moderate" Arabs fear that a failure at the conference would undermine their power and play into the hands of Hamas and other radical elements throughout the Arab world.

Aware of the growing challenges, Abbas has climbed a high tree by publicly outlining his expectations from the planned conference. In a series of interviews, he has made it clear that he would accept nothing less than 98 percent of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. He has also stressed that there would be no compromises on the status of Jerusalem and the issue of the refugees.

This week he came up with a new precondition: the release of some 2,000 Palestinians from Israeli jails ahead of the conference. And more conditions like this are likely to come as the date of the conference approaches. Abbas is hoping that the release of the prisoners would ease the pressure on him, enhance his standing among his constituents and persuade the Palestinian public that Israel does have good intentions.

Abbas's worst nightmare is a scenario in which Israel and the US would hold him personally responsible for the failure of the Annapolis meeting, as was the case with his predecessor, Arafat, following the botched Camp David summit in 2000. As one of his aides said this week, "President Abbas is caught between the anvil and hammer. On the one hand, the Palestinians will condemn him if he brings them anything less than what he promised. On the other hand, his refusal to make concessions at the conference will be used by the Israelis and Americans to hold him responsible for the failure of the peace process."
Some of you may wonder why this 'conference' is going ahead. Caroline Glick has the answer:
By any objective standard, Rice has failed in office. On her way to Israel, she and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Moscow, where they were publicly humiliated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Under Rice's stewardship, the US failed to foresee or reckon with Russia's abandonment of the West. Consequently, today the US has no coherent policy for contending with the Kremlin. The same is the case with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, Kim Jung-Il's North Korea and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran. And this is Rice's fault.

As the clock ticks toward the end of Bush's time in office, Rice fears history's impending verdict. And so she seeks a singular achievement. Like her failed predecessors, she has turned to Israel. Like so many others before her, Rice hopes to force Israel to make concessions that will lead to war only after she is safely ensconced at Stanford University.

In her race to a signing ceremony, Rice ignores the fact that through her actions she is destroying America's international credibility. Her genuflection to the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole on the one hand and her open hostility and moral condemnation of Israel on the other destroy US credibility twice. First, by ignoring all of Bush's previous demands for the Arabs and the Palestinians to abjure terror and accept the Jewish state's right to exist, Rice is making clear that countries will pay no price for supporting terror and jihad. Second, by running roughshod over Israel, Rice shows that there is no advantage to be had by being a loyal ally of America.

Then there is Olmert. When not engaged in surrendering Hebron and Jerusalem to Hamas, Olmert faces his police investigators. As the subject of three separate official criminal probes, Olmert's desire to divert attention away from the fact that he is unfit for office is so great that he is willing to give up Israel's right to defensible borders and to its capital city.
If anyone has any other explanations, I'm all ears.


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