by Chris Marsden
Global Research, December 3, 2007
"......Haaretz cites Palestinian sources as saying that a stalemate was resolved at Annapolis itself when, “Finally, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas out of a three-way meeting with US President George Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and pressured him to approve the draft document. Eventually, he did so, enabling Bush to read it to the conference.”
Israeli sources painted an even more damning picture, stating that when the Palestinians had refused to sign, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, “who headed the Israeli team, lost her temper and told [Palestinian negotiator Ahmed] Qureia to ‘take it or get lost.’”......
The central demand contained in the road map upon which Abbas will be judged to have been successful is his ensuring the “security of Israel” by dismantling “terrorist organizations.” In effect, Abbas has again been placed on notice that he must crush all resistance to Israel amongst the Palestinians, beginning by taking back control of the Gaza Strip from Hamas.
Abbas is in a weak position from which to take on Hamas, which organised a demonstration of tens of thousands in Gaza denouncing him as a “collaborator” and “traitor” for attending Annapolis. Even in the West Bank stronghold of Fatah, smaller demonstrations took place. Police violently broke up the demonstrations, arresting hundreds and killing a 36-year-old man in Hebron......
The Los Angeles Times credited Abbas with having tried to “demonstrate to Israel that he’s serious about asserting control, starting in the West Bank. He has deployed hundreds of extra police officers to the unruly city of Nablus. He has closed dozens of Hamas charities, fired Hamas preachers, arrested hundreds of Hamas activists, including many gunmen, confiscated weapons and issued a decree aimed at drying up millions of dollars in donations to Hamas from abroad.”
But this is not enough for Israel. Abbas is faced with nothing less than a demand that he launch a full-scale civil war, which could precipitate his own downfall as a result of popular opposition. A Hamas official warned, “Abbas would be a fool to return to the Gaza Strip aboard an Israeli tank. Any Palestinian who enters the Gaza Strip with Israel’s assistance will be treated as an enemy.”......"