Friday, April 20, 2007

PR posturing

Abbas and Olmert meet again but it appears they have discussed nothing of substance

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Two days prior to the meeting, Olmert was quoted as saying that he wouldn't agree to discuss the main cardinal issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, namely the right of return, ending the military occupation and colonisation of the occupied territories, including Arab-East Jerusalem, and the borders of a prospective Palestinian state.

One Palestinian commentator scoffed at this "game of make believe", wondering if Abbas and Olmert were going to discuss the unseasonably cold weather in Palestine or perhaps the nutritional value of falafel and houmous......

The utter futility of the Abbas-Olmert meetings draws a combination of indifference and anger from the Palestinian public. Palestinian commentators and public opinion leaders have come to the conclusion that by agreeing to take part in such encounters, the Palestinian leadership, particularly Abbas, is indulging either in self- deception or naïveté.

Hani El-Masry, a well-known columnist and political commentator criticised the PA leader for appearing in frequent and "fruitless" high-profile meetings with the Israeli premier.

"Such meetings should not take place unless there are tangible results, otherwise a false impression of normalcy between Israel and ourselves will be created as a result of such meetings," he said.

In fact, most Palestinian pundits here are convinced that the monthly or bi-monthly meetings between Olmert and Abbas are meant to blur the failure of the Bush administration to get Israel to agree to end its occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories and thereby realise the possibility of peace.

If so, these pundits would argue, why should the Palestinian leadership continue to play this game of make believe when all indications show that there will be no serious efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East under the current Bush administration?......"

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