PM Olmert: PA?s Moment of Truth Rapidly Approaching

Upon his return from Moscow on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced the PA’s “moment of truth” is rapidly approaching.

Yechiel Spira, | updated: 07:46

The prime minister stated that PA (Palestinian Authority) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) must make some critical decisions. Decisions, he said, that will determine the future of the region. "If Abu Mazen does not take the required steps, we will all be losers," Olmert said.

While negotiations between Abu Mazen’s Fatah and the ruling Hamas movement continue, fighting between rival factions has sharply increased, with daily shootouts taking place in Gaza this week as the two terror organizations struggle for control.

Hamas emerged the victor in the PA’s general elections, but Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah is now isolated by the western community which is demanding recognition of Israel, resulting in an economic boycott of the Hamas government.

Reaching an agreement with Abu Mazen whereby a new coalition government would recognize Israel in some regard would result in international acceptance of the PA government, a move that would unlock donor nation funds for the PA and its institutions.

Regarding Iran, Olmert added the clock is running out, adding that today, things are happening and the situation has changed.

While stating “I did not threaten Iran,” the prime minister added, "Iran must not realize who it is up against . . . Iran should be afraid.”

Seeking to exhibit an air of success upon his return from Moscow, the prime minister added that Russian President Vladimir Putin opposes a nuclear independent Iran. This despite the fact that during a meeting between the two, Olmert failed to receive the assurances he was seeking - a stronger Russian position against Iran’s ongoing nuclear program.

Russian technology has played a strong influence in the area with regard to Iran’s nuclear development; advanced weapon sales to Syria and indirect assistance to Hizbullah. Nonetheless, Olmert attempted to exhibit an atmosphere of cooperation between Jerusalem and Moscow.

The London-based Arabic Al-Hayat newspaper, quoting Hamas sources, reports “progress” regarding efforts to obtain IDF soldier Gilad Shalit’s release from his PA captors.

Israel’s Yediot Achronot daily reported on Thursday that a deal which would have led to Shalit’s release next week was thwarted by Iran. According to the report, a deal was reached in which Shalit would have been released during the Muslim holiday of Eid el-Fitr, marking the end of the month of Ramadan. In exchange, Israel agreed to release Arab prisoners - not all at once, but in a number of waves.

According to the report, Iranian officials arrived in Damascus and with a $50 million gift for Hamas politburo Khaled Meshal, succeeding in bringing the plans to a halt. Meshal upped his demands, calling upon Israel to release terrorists who he knew the Olmert government could not release. This gave him the ability to cancel the deal, placing the blame on Israel.

Regarding Shalit, who was taken captive on June 25th, Abu Mazen stated on numerous occasions that he will not enter into a coalition agreement with Hamas until Shalit is released. He also told western media sources that he insists that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist and declare the government’s commitment to abide by previously signed agreements.

In interviews with the Arab media however, Abu Mazen stated his Fatah Party needn’t recognize Israel.