The early advent of Shabbat makes possible for me today only the very briefest of postings, but I wanted to touch on key matters, with follow-up later as appropriate.
Khaled Abu Toameh of the Post has reported that a key PA official has told him that if and when Israel invades Gaza, “Fatah won’t remain idle…We will definitely fight together with Hamas against the Israeli army. It’s our duty to defend our people against the occupiers…The homeland is more important than all our differences.”
For Abbas to side with Israel in this instance would render him a traitor in the current political climate. But this provides a brief snapshot of what the "peace process" really looks like.
Israeli defense officials have expressed concern that the newly appointed envoy for the US on Palestinian security matters is going to lean on Israel to go easy.
The scuttlebutt I’m picking up is that Bush does not want to micro-manage the "process." This is good news as it cuts further pressure, although I’m not clear how much managing Rice intends to try to do.
What is unsettling is that the US has submitted to the UN Security Council a proposal supporting the agreements reached at Annapolis without first running this past Israel. Dan Gillerman, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, was left in the dark. The hope is that what will emerge is a proclamation of some sort and not a formal resolution, which would involve UN nations more closely in the process and further squeeze Israel.
A story has come out (World News Daily) saying that a Palestinian negotiator claims Olmert lied when he said that the Temple Mount is not negotiable, because he already promised it to the PA in arrangement with Jordan and Egypt. Several people have sent me this news release. My response is that it may be so, but I do not know without further confirmation. I have observed a propensity on the part of Palestinians to "leak" information that is not quite accurate, for their own purposes. Maybe Olmert discussed this with them but never promised. Maybe he did promise and is lying now (certainly a possibility). Maybe he is backtracking because he can only retain his coalition this way.
As to politics:
The police have, bewilderingly and infuriatingly , recommended that charges against Olmert in the Bank Leumi affair be dropped. There will be much more to say about this situation, which has generated considerable anger.
Barak, head of Labor, who promised to pull his party out of the coalition after the Winograd Report is released is now backtracking because of the "peace process." Word is that Shas is moving closer to pulling out but that Lieberman is not.
Yesterday was Nov. 29, the anniversary of the day on which the UN originally voted partition of Palestine in 1947. I didn’t want to let this pass without mention, but what I want to do is devote considerable commentary to this because of the multiple misunderstandings surrounding it.