Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Olmert's departure: The perfect alibi

(left cartoon by Ben Heine) A Goodbye Kiss

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 6 August 2008

"......While some of his lieutenants lamented the departure of yet another Israeli "man of peace," Abbas put on a brave face saying negotiations would continue no matter what. Yet the mood was one of mourning and despair.

The truth is that there is not a peace process to mourn. Yes, there have been constant meetings, including between Abbas and Olmert, but these never produced even modest progress on any of the "final status" issues. On the contrary, there were repeated admissions from both sides that chances of an agreement were close to nil.

Abbas concluded his last visit to Washington in April with emphatic statements that there was no hope, and no political will in Washington to make real progress, not least to pressure Israel to halt colony construction on occupied land. Ahmed Qureia, Abbas' chief negotiator similarly declared that a "miracle" would be needed to overcome these obstacles.

The role of Olmert, for most of his career a "Greater Israel" hardliner, has been to guarantee from the Israeli side the absence of any progress. He has been no less a supporter for the continued colonization program than his mentor Ariel Sharon......."

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