If Abbas, by some miracle, is successful, he will be condemned by Hamas which will emphasize Abbas’s role as a traitor to the Palestinian cause and he will be viewed as a US-Israel collaborator. This could result in a threat to his leadership as well as to his life.
If Abbas fails, the Palestinian people who wish to see an improvement in their lives as well as an end to the occupation with its check posts and the resulting humiliations from it will remain under occupation with all that it entails. This time there will be no face savers if there is failure.
If Olmert fails, the Labour Party coalition partner could bolt the government resulting in its fall. If Olmert succeeds, his right wing partners – Israel Beitenu and Shas could bolt the government and it would fall as well. So both sides will be at a conference which will be accompanied by much press hype and is doomed to failure.
No matter how one views the prospects of this conference, both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership are weak and have their hands tied by their electorate or coalition partners.
According to a report in Haaretz, November 9 2007,
In talks between the two negotiating teams in Tel Aviv yesterday, it was agreed that "any implementation of agreements in the future will be conditional to both sides carrying out what they must in accordance with the first stage of the road map." It is expected that a similar formulation will appear in the joint declaration the two sides will make at
It remains to be seen whether the two sides will be able to make a joint declaration before the Annapolis Peace Conference commences.
Another point as far as the Palestinians are concerned is the freeing of prisoners. The Palestinian leadership will press for a wide scale prisoner release including those prisoners with blood on their hands. Anything less than that would be unacceptable to them. Core issues, such as the refugee problem, will not be discussed because it would result in Olmert’s right wing coalition partners bolting the government. The problem with Hamas is another factor that cannot be overlooked. Hamas rules
As far as both Olmert and Abbas are concerned, they are both in a Catch 22 situation whether they succeed or fail. If there is success or failure, Olmert’s coalition will eventually break up. Mahmoud Abbas is in a similar predicament. He cannot sign an agreement with
A far better alternative to the ill-fated Annapolis Summit would be investment in building viable Palestinian institutions that would ensure stable government and law enforcement. This is actually one of the provisions stated in the first phase of the Road Map. Now there is total anarchy in the
Whatever concessions Abu Mazen manages to get from the Israelis, if any, will never satisfy Hamas and its allies. Hamas is dead set on sabotaging the results of the conference at all costs.