There is little chance of Israel and the PA bridging divisions ahead of the US-sponsored peace summit
By Khaled Amayreh from occupied East Jerusalem
"......Olmert has been heaping praise on Abbas, insisting that "for the first time, there is a Palestinian leadership that wants to reach peace with Israel based on two states living side by side in security and where Israel will be a Jewish state." The Israeli premier has described Abbas as "consistent and systematic... against terrorism and ready for serious dialogue with Israel".
Such praise, coming from a man known among Palestinians more for deceitfulness than rectitude, has been met with apprehension, fuelling rumours that Abbas will compromise over Jerusalem and the right of return, the two issues that, more than any other, define the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.
Salman Abu Sitta, a prominent advocate of the Palestinian right to return to the homeland as anchored in UN Resolution 149, this week warned Abbas against "dealing lightly with the right of return".
"We are aware of the pressure you are facing to abandon Palestinian constants," Abu Sitta wrote in an open letter addressed to Abbas this week. "But what has drawn our attention more than anything else are Israel's attempts to redefine the idea of the two-state solution. Israel now wants mutual recognition of a national homeland for the Jews and, on what is left of the land, Palestine, a national homeland for Palestinians."......"