According to Wafa Amir, writing for Reuters, Abbas told Olmert yesterday that the PA would not be part of any interim agreement. What is more, we’re not just talking about an agreement for a September 17 deadline (which is what rumor had it Olmert was seeking). Saeb Erekat told reporters in Ramallah that Abbas was not keen on a trying to reach a preliminary peace deal by the end of the year just to accommodate Bush’s calendar.
This is not unexpected. Abbas may say he is reluctant to work according to calendar, but my betting is that he’s reluctant to sign at all. Negotiating is in his best interest, signing is not.
The Washington Post is echoing a similar refrain:
“President Bush’s goal of forging an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal within five months is looking increasingly unattainable. These days it’s hard to find anyone optimistic about the deal’s January 2009 target date, announced with great fanfare at a U.S.-hosted Mideast peace conference nine months ago.”
According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, has called off an operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging the Iranian weapons industry because an attack on Iran by the US is coming in a matter of weeks and will hit sites where Dutch saboteurs would have been located. According to this report, the hits would come via unmanned aircraft.
Reportedly the Dutch intelligence shared information with the CIA on targets such as launching equipment and parts for missiles (which at least at first blush makes it sound as if this wouldn’t be primarily an attack on nuclear development sites).
Is this true? I wouldn’t put money on this, but who knows? The Jerusalem Post, which reported this, could not confirm the story.
According to Al-Quds al-Arabi in London, Iran is mobilizing Islamic Jihad in Gaza — which is very much dependant on Iran — to sabotage the ceasefire.
Maj. Gen. (res) Yaakov Amidror (whom I cited yesterday) says the ceasefire is in Hamas’s interest, as it is giving the terrorist group time to strengthen and mobilize. Thus Hamas — which is not as dependant upon Iran as IJ — would not hesitate to put down Islamic Jihad and is quite capable of doing so.
And it’s not only Hamas that is benefiting from the ceasefire with opportunity to strength. Maan, a Palestinian news service, reports that Al Aksa Brigades, which is part of Fatah (the “moderate” party) has just graduated a group of fighters in Gaza. Graduates had been trained in storming buildings and kidnapping soldiers; they demonstrated the launching of rocket-propelled grenades for the graduation ceremony.
“Al-Aksa Brigades asserted that the graduation of a class of fighters sends a clear message to Israel that resistance is still a valid choice for freeing Palestinian lands and the Al-Aksa mosque.”
You think Condoleezza Rice has heard about this?
Just a word about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom McCain has picked as his VP candidate: What do I know about her?Not enough yet. That she has a very good relationship with the Jews of Alaska, including the Chabad (Lubavitch) rabbi there. That she is tough and principled and would not likely be an appeaser of terrorists or eager to dialogue with Iran. That she put out a very highly
supportive (but not remarkable) gubernatorial declaration of support for Israel.
But what I do know is that the more I am learning about Biden, the more uneasy he is making me. It started with his soft-pedaling the threat that Iran represents. The Post has just carried a report saying that Israeli security officials are troubled by statements on Iran he is alleged to have made. And I have since learned that he once threatened cuts in aid to Israel because of our settlements.
This is not encouraging.