Daily Israel Report

Financial Crisis May Be Last Nail in 2008 PA Peace Coffin

The financial crisis in the United States has probably tanked the last chance for a Middle East accord this year, says a Tel Aviv analyst.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 10/14/2008, 8:39 PM

The financial crisis in the United States has tanked the last chance for U.S. President George W. Bush to establish a Palestinian Authority State and his place in Middle East history before the end of his term, says a Tel Aviv analyst.

 

Hanna Siniora, co-president of the Israel-Palestinian Center for Research and Information told the Washington Times on Monday that the Middle East has been put on the back burner for now. "We are being shelved for the moment," said the analyst. "And if the crisis deepens, it's bad news for all of the Middle East. There won't be any interest in the government of the U.S. to do anything."

 

The Bush Administration had hoped to see at least a document of understanding, if not an outright agreement between Israel and the PA that would lead to establishment of a new Arab state within Israel's current borders before the end of 2008.

 

But the current economic difficulties that have sucked the White House into a vortex of quick bailouts and not-so-quick fixes for the future are most likely to keep the Bush Administration busy until the end of his term.

 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is also otherwise occupied heading a caretaker government while his successor, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, tries to form a new coalition and fend off at least four corruption investigations that may lead to indictments against him. 

 

Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is similarly busy with shuttle diplomacy aimed at reconstituting a national unity PA government, aided and abetted by Egypt and Syria, in contradiction to his agreement with the U.S. and Israel. With his own term of office drawing to a close in January, the same time President Bush leaves the White House, Abbas is also desperately trying to consolidate his position in the PA.