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U.S. Pressure on Israel for a Palestinian State Foreseen

Preparations for US-sponsored Middle East summit intensify, squeeze on Israel to agree to Palestinian state just miles from Tel Aviv is feared.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 8/12/2007, 11:39 AM

As the US, Jordan, the PA and others prepare for a high-level Middle East summit in November, a squeeze on Israel to agree to a Palestinian state just kilometers from Tel Aviv is feared.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has met in recent days with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and with Jordan's King Abdullah, reportedly discussing plans for the upcoming Middle East summit.  The summit is the brainchild of U.S. President George Bush, and is scheduled to be held three months from now.  Some Israelis fear that it will mark the climax of a heavy series of pressures upon Israel to agree formally to the formation of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. 

"With a quiet and densely-packed timetable," writes IDF Col. (res.) Moti Yogev, "the US Administration is cooking up, together with Prime Minister Olmert and Abu Mazen, very fateful plans for the State of Israel.  The US will apply very heavy pressure on Israel to agree to understandings that will form the basis of the declaration of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria within just two months."

Yogev explains that the Bush Administration is working under the pressure of the 2008 elections.  "By then," Yogev posits, "Bush plans to hit the Iranian nuclear infrastructures.  This is why he is in such a rush to give the Palestinians and the moderate Moslem states fat weapons deals and a Palestinian state - in order to silence them in anticipation of the planned attack on Iran."

"Bush has partners," Yogev continues, "Abu Mazen and Olmert, and the common denominator for all of them is their unpleasant political situation, which is prodding them to take steps they hope will improve their standing."

Shteinitz Opposes Summit
MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) told Arutz-7 this morning that the summit is something that must be strongly opposed: "This summit could well lead to a Palestinian state, with clear Hamas and Iranian influence, right on the doorstep of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ben Gurion International Airport.  Even if it just serves as a small support for this idea, the summit is something that we must not allow." 

Shteinitz served as head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the previous Knesset.

Though plans are proceeding apace for the summit to be held, several major stumbling blocks remain - including the refusal of Saudi Arabia to announce its participation, and the questionable status of Abu Mazen.  Conflicting reports abound as to whether Hamas and Fatah are on the road to peace between them or to a resumption of hostilities.  If the latter, then Abu Mazen could find himself a target of assassination; a statement by Hamas elements accuses him of "launching a war against Hamas together with the Zionist occupation forces."

In addition, a group of influential businessmen in the PA is considering starting a new party, which Abu Mazen said he "supports."

A Dangerous Israeli Commitment
Yogev says we must be very far from complacent, however: "[Israeli Cabinet ministers] are again working, trying to give between 70 and 90% of Judea and Samaria to the PA for a state.  True, some say the present government does not have the political strength to pull it off.  But what is now on the agenda is just a signature on a 'declaration of principles' for the establishment of a Palestinian state.  Even if the implementation is put off, it will still be an international Israeli commitment, and this is very grave.  In addition, if it is marketed as a way of saving Israel from the Iranian nuclear threat, it will be very hard to convince the average Israeli of the dangers of abandoning most of Judea and Samaria - despite what has happened in Gaza."

The only way to stop this, Yogev writes, is for the "nationalist, religious, Zionist camp to wake up, unite as one, and work together... We have the strength to declare firmly that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel, and that any thought of giving it to 'moderate' murderers is immoral and will not bring peace or security."