Front Page Magazine reports that America's Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice read the riot act to Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
During Condoleezza Rice’s three-hour meeting with Mahmoud Abbas last week in Ramallah, she reportedly “employed a threatening tone.” A Palestinian Authority official said that “We’ve never seen her in such a bad mood.”I think he is right on that one. Since the agreement the Palestinian Civil War has damped down considerably. I believe in the last couple of weeks there have only been 5 deaths and they were attributed to family feuds probably triggered by earlier civil war violence.
Later at a press conference after meeting in a Jerusalem hotel with Abbas and Ehud Olmert, she “briskly walked into . . . the hotel’s main ballroom, gave a vacuous 90-second declaration and unceremoniously left, taking no questions.”
Rice was angry with Abbas for having earlier signed an agreement in Mecca that officially makes his Fatah movement a junior partner of Hamas. Abbas is said to have protested that “the only two options facing me were civil war or national unity, and I chose the second.” Rice apparently didn’t buy it.
Rice’s anger suggests that she has sincerely believed that Abbas is a constructive force who is worth American coddling and encouragement—even to the extent of funding, training, and equipping his militia. The anger, in other words, seems to be a case of empiricism catching up with delusion and denial. It must especially sting that it was the Saudis—whom Rice, the State Department, and the U.S. generally are always trying to impress by demonstrating their tenderness toward the Palestinians—who pressured Abbas into formally capitulating to Hamas and further enshrining the latter as the Palestinian standard-bearer.I never understood why Arafat got so much adulation (until Bush) from American Presidents. That guy promised peace in English and War in Arabic. A first rate double dealer. He got a Nobel Peace Prize too. I guess the Nobel Committee does't read Arabic. Lucky for Arafat. Not so lucky for the Israelis.
It’s hard, after all, to see why Rice—ostensibly a conservative and not a fluttery-hearted liberal—got so disappointed in her Palestinian charge. There has always been much information available showing his lack of moderacy and total lack of interest in complying with the road map.
The Jerusalem Post reports on Condi's tough talk.
Even the most veteran officials in the Mukata "presidential" compound in Ramallah cannot recall such a tense meeting between a Palestinian leader and a senior US official as this week's encounter between PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.America these days is adamant about not providing direct aid to the Palestinian governent. What money is given only goes to food and medical aid provided by NGOs or as we used to call them, charitable organizations.
As Rice was walking out of the three-hour meeting, the officials rushed to phone Palestinian reporters to inform them that the talks were "very hard," and that the secretary of state had actually "rebuked" Abbas for signing the power-sharing Mecca agreement with Hamas earlier this month.
Reflecting the gloomy mood in Abbas's office, a top PA official said he did not rule out the possibility that Abbas would eventually end up being isolated in the Mukata like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. "Rice employed a threatening tone during the talks with President Abbas," the official said. "We've never seen her in such a bad mood. She just doesn't understand that the president had no choice but to reach a deal with Hamas."
The official quoted Abbas as telling his aides after the Ramallah meeting that, by rejecting the Mecca deal, the US was "pushing the Palestinian people toward civil war."
Here is a report on the post summit press conference:
As reporters and advisers to the three leaders waited in the cavernous ballroom floor of the hotel, there was no overblown, Oslo-like sense of "feeling the flutter of history's wings." There was no expectation, no sense of moment, no anticipation of great diplomatic drama.What they mean is that Israeli capitulations will no longer be required to advance the "peace process". Which is a start towards realism.
As a result, nobody was really disappointed that following nearly two-and-a-half hours of meetings, Rice briskly walked into a flagless, partitioned section of the hotel's main ballroom, gave a vacuous 90-second declaration and unceremoniously left, taking no questions. No one had expected anything more.
Which doesn't mean the summit was a complete flop. What it means is that a cold bucket of realism seems to have been tossed onto the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process. What it means is that there is a growing realization that not every impasse can be broken in disengagement-like fell swoops, not all deadlocks solved by wholesale Israeli confidence-building gestures.
Carl in Jerusalem has some thoughts.