Daily Israel Report

Abu Mazen: Olmert Agreed to Make Jerusalem Arab Capital

Palestinian Authority head tells Sec'y Rice that Olmert has agreed to the long-standing Arab demand that eastern Jerusalem be capital of Palestine.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/24/2007, 12:49 PM

The chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice last week - and told her that Prime Minister Olmert agrees, finally, to turn eastern Jerusalem into the capital of a future state of Palestine.  So reports the PA newspaper Al Hayat Al Jadeeda, quoting an unnamed "senior Palestinian source."

Abbas reportedly told Rice that Olmert had agreed to the demand in an Olmert-Abbas meeting a couple of days before.  Another Olmert-Abbas meeting is planned for next week, the paper reports.

Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reports on another PA media article.  The Palestinian Press claims that Iran has given the order to Hamas and Islamic Jihad to reduce Kassam rocket attacks against Israel during the month of Ramadan, in order to reduce the suffering of Arab citizens in Gaza during this period.  Hamas chief-in-exile Khaled Mashaal reportedly told Iran that though Hamas agrees to hold fire, Islamic Jihad does not.

Meanwhile, plans continue for U.S. President George Bush's international Middle East summit, scheduled for this November in Washington.  Secretary Rice announced Sunday night that Syria and Lebanon will also be invited to take part, though they will have to commit themselves to help find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is not happy with the summit.  "Without advance preparations and without an objective," he said, "I don't see what can come of it, and I don't see any reason to convene the summit."

High-level meetings of this nature are often accompanied by Arab violence and terrorism, and some fear that such violence this time will only intensify if the summit does not produce results favorable to the Arab side.