Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pressure for action against Hamas to continue with a joint Mukhabarat meeting next week with America

After the speeches were over, the Sharm el-Sheikh get-together ended with a number of private chats between participants, including one between Olmert and Mubarak, about which the Al-Akhbar reporter has this to say:
It was clear that Mubarak was accompanied in his talk with Olmert by key people in the Egyptian state [including the Prime Minister, ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Information] and also the head of the Mukhabarat, Omar Suleiman. Egyptian and Western sources told Al-Akhbar that Olmert asked Mubarak to set up a joint mechanism for border surveillance between Egypt and Israel...And auhorities who participated in the talk said Olmert criticized the control of Hamas over Gaza, and said he was commited to self-control, adding that he didn't take military measures in response to Mubarak's request, but [he added that] his patience is running out and he is under pressure from [Israeli] military and security people who want him to take tough steps against Hamas. Olmert called for joint action by neighboring countries, particularly Egypt and Jordan, to end the Hamas control [of Gaza], warning them of the effects the rise of Hamas could have on the internal affairs of the two countries.
Elsewhere in its report, Al-Akhbar notes that
Although the summit didn't announce any official measures against Hamas, it did refer files to a meeting of the heads of the Mukhabarat of the four participants, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine, to be held next week with American participation.
Back to the description of the bilateral talks that ended the Sharm el-Shaikh get-together, the Al-Akhbar reporter says:
It is indicated that after meeting with Mubarak, Olmert met with [Abbas], and Western sources said the discussion was characterized by clarity, and by sharpness [or vehemence] from time to time. They said Olmert castigated Abu Mazen for his inability to control the situation and for allowing Hamas to take over Gaza in the way that it did in the space of a few hours.
Considering the fact that the supposed purpose of these meetings is to promote some kind of bonding between the Israeli and the Arab "leaders", this Al-Akhbar account indicates this strategy isn't really catching fire, and in fact Al-Akhbar leads its report with a sarcastic tone, reporting that
The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas received the green light from Israel to be on the move in the West Bank, which the Israeli Prime Minister promised to cause to "blossom forth", removing obstacles and restoring the situation to what it was before the year 2000, according to the PLO official responsible for negotiations, Saeb Ereqat....[Olmert] used the Sharm el-Sheikh pulpit to reward Abbas by referring to a new Switzerland in the flourishing West Bank, and to announce his determination to release 250 prisoners...


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