In a telephone call placed from the White House on Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told President Bush that the time is now to resume Palestinian peace talks again, reports the Associated Press. The call was placed in the aftermath of the weekend’s full takeover of the Gaza Strip by the hostile Hamas political faction and their independent leader, Salam Fayyad.
“President Abbas told Mr. Bush that this is the time to resume the political negotiations and to revive the hope of the Palestinian people,” Abu Rdeneh told the AP. President Bush had called Abbas to “to express support for him and the Palestinian moderates.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert began a U.S. visit Sunday and stated in a New York City meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he wanted to see an emergency government, sans Hamas, installed in Palestine. Olmert said that Israel would recognize such a government as a partner for peace talks, reports Reuters through the Epoch Times.
“Lebanon has been very quiet for the last nine months and hopefully will continue to be so,” Olmert stated. Before touching down in New York, he told reporters who were flying with him, “A government that is not a Hamas government is a partner,” as quoted by the Times.
However, over the weekend there was a rocket attack on northern Israel from Lebanon, and about this Olmert said, “It’s a very disturbing day.”
“[President Bush] will raise these issues with Prime Minister Olmert so all parties involved can discuss them and can discuss the best way forward to what everyone wants, which is a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel,” Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, as reported by the AP.
The White House is preparing to lift an embargo on direct foreign aid to the Palestinian government which has been in place since 2006, while Israel is preparing to release frozen tax revenues to Abbas and consider taking more risks in a spirit of open trust, reports Reuters.
“We should take advantage of this split to the end. It differentiates between the moderates and the extremists,” Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, heading for talks with European foreign ministers in Luxembourg to encourage them to keep isolating Hamas, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
An Iranian news agency blamed the United States, which backs Abbas’ Fatah government and a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, for causing the violent split between Hamas and Fatah. Iran is a supporter of Hamas.
Hamas refuses to diplomatically recognize the legitimacy of Israel and keeps up the anti-Jewish rhetoric begun by hostile Islamic militants decades ago to “drive the Jews into the Sea”.
Reuters, “Abbas cabinet vows to exert control over Gaza”
The Epoch Times, “Israel’s Olmert Begins U.S. Visit to Bolster Abbas”
Associated Press, “Abbas to Bush: Resume peace talks now“