Thursday, June 21, 2007

Egypt Arranges Peace Summit in Support of Abbas

New York Times:
Hamas leaders say they do not want to run Gaza alone, they recognize the legitimacy of Mr. Abbas as president and they want to restore the unity government Mr. Abbas negotiated with them in March, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

But after the collapse of Fatah here, Mr. Abbas, encouraged by Israel and the United States, fired the unity government and its prime minister, Ismail Haniya of Hamas, and named a new emergency government for the West Bank. Mr. Abbas says he can no longer negotiate with members of Hamas, whom he called “murderous terrorists,” extraordinarily harsh language for any Palestinian to use, let alone the president....

Mr. Abbas is to repeat his call for resumption of peace talks with Israel, arguing that only Palestinian statehood can counter the appeal of Hamas, said Saeb Erekat, an Abbas aide and Palestinian negotiator. “We need to deliver the end of occupation, a Palestinian state,” he said. “If we don’t have hope, Hamas will export despair to the people.”

An Israeli spokesman, David Baker, said that the purpose of the meeting “is to strengthen the moderates and promote Israeli-Palestinian ties.” Miri Eisin, Mr. Olmert’s spokeswoman, said that “this will be a congregation of moderate forces who are showing their authority in defining the agenda, as opposed to letting the extremists do it.” She said that the leaders would discuss the impact of Gaza “on the political process and ways to go forward on the political horizon.”...

Some of those anxieties came out in a poll released today by Khalil Shikaki’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. The poll, taken between June 14 and 20, showed a further loss of confidence in Palestinian leadership and anger with the infighting. ...

Most Palestinians — 59 percent — see Fatah and Hamas as equally responsible for the infighting, and 71 percent believe that both sides are losers. Some 70 percent believe that the chances for an independent Palestinian state are low or non-existent.

And 56 percent see infighting and lack of law and order as the greatest threat to Palestinians, followed by poverty (21 percent), the Israeli occupation (12 percent) and international sanctions and boycott (10 percent).

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