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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Olmert and Abu Mazen reach 'secret agreement'?

Huffington Post translates an Arabic article by Daoud Kuttab, which claims that eventually resigning Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen have reached a 'secret agreement.' Kutab's source is 'quartet' envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair.
In an interview with the leading Palestinian daily Al Quds, Blair stated that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have resolved differences between them, although he was careful to note that this agreement has not been signed. When pressed by the Palestinian reporter about the failure of the Annapolis process which began last year, Blair stated the following: "The continuous meetings between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and [Israeli leader] Olmert as well as the continuous negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli teams has produced an agreement." Blair said that he respects the choice of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders not to divulge details and therefore he would not give any further details.
This 'agreement' is likely even less meaningful as the 'agreement' Ehud Barak reached at Taba with Yasser Arafat. Barak at least publicized what he agreed to - Olmert is afraid to even do that. Under Israeli Supreme Court decisions, as a 'transitional' Prime Minister, Olmert is prohibited from reaching important agreements. But of course, whatever Olmert has conceded is likely to become the starting point for the 'Palestinians' next round of demands, making actual peace even less likely.

What should happen is that Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu should challenge foreign minister and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni to put all understandings that she has reached with the 'Palestinians' as Olmert's lead negotiator on the table. Netanyahu is unlikely to forcefully make that challenge and Livni is even less likely to actually disclose her agreements. If she did, she could never be elected.

Olmert should be leaving office shortly after Israel's February 10 elections, while Abu Mazen's term in office is due to expire on January 9, 2009. Yet another meaningless piece of paper....


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