Report: Abbas to declare negotiations failed

Al-Quds al-Arabi: PA president made decision after hearing Olmert promised Shas J'lem construction.

abbas bush 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
abbas bush 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Less than a week after a speech by US President George W. Bush spurred condemnation from Palestinian Authority officials - who accused the American leader of being one-sided in peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis - PA President Mahmoud Abbas has come to the conclusion that peace talks have failed, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Monday. Citing PA sources, the article said that prior to his departure from Sharm el-Sheikh, Abbas was informed that the United States intended to backtrack on efforts to achieve progress in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. According to the paper, the report was given to Abbas from a European source, who claimed that the Americans were not interested in exerting pressure or confronting Israel, and that the US was "allowing Israel full freedom to take a stance which would serve its policies, its security, and its interests alone." Another diplomatic source told the paper that the PA president received reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Shas chairman Eli Yishai had come to an understanding in which the former has promised the latter that plans to build thousands of apartment units around Jerusalem and in the West Bank would be approved - this in an attempt to reinforce the premier's foundering coalition. Given these reports, the source told the paper that Abbas planned to give a speech in Ramallah, during which he would announce that negotiations had failed and blame Israel for the failure. The source added that the PA president would also blame the US for its lack of commitment to the peace process. Abbas had planned to make a similar announcement following his disappointing visit to Washington in April, because he had heard that "the American government did not plan to pressure Israel into making concessions to the Palestinians," the source told the paper.