Olmert Rebukes Abu Mazen

PM Olmert rebuked PA chief Abbas for the latter's meeting with recently-released murderer Samir Kuntar. Abbas: Meeting was unplanned.

Hillel Fendel ,

Olmert and Abbas
Olmert and Abbas

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday morning, hoping to resolve disagreements for a quick agreement on the formation of a Palestinian state to be signed by year's end.  Instead, however, spokesmen for both said afterwards said that no quick agreement was foreseen.  Olmert did rebuke Abbas, however.

It was publicized that Olmert chided Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, for his meeting with recently-released murderer Samir Kuntar. Kuntar was one of five terrorists freed to Lebanon last month in exchange for the bodies of kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.  Kuntar murdered three Israelis, including a toddler, and was responsible for the death of a fourth - a baby - in a 1979 terrorist attack in Nahariya. 

Abu Mazen explained himself by saying that his meeting with Kuntar was unplanned.  Olmert said, "So what? If you are a man of peace, you are not supposed to meet with murderers."

Dichter vs. Olmert
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said Olmert should slow down and not come to any agreements under pressure.  "Given the political and security circumstances that I know of," Dichter told his Cabinet colleagues on Sunday, "we cannot be allowed to suddenly find ourselves once again with completed agreements on such critical matters."

Livni: Both Sides Now
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni found herself on both sides of the debate.  Her challenger in the Kadima primaries, Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz, implied that Livni - who heads the Israel negotiating team with the PA - was deviating from the Kadima party line and was nearing an agreement on the division of Jerusalem.  Livni said that she was not deviating from the Kadima platform.

On the other hand, she said that Olmert must not rush to an agreement and not pressure himself into artificial deadlines such as the end of this year.

Shas Wags Finger at Olmert
Shas party leader Eli Yishai said that Olmert has no mandate to come to an agreement with the PA.  Olmert is wary of such statements because if Yishai removes his party from the coalition, the government will fall.  However, Shas shows no signs of actually following through on its promise of quitting the government should the division of Jerusalem be negotiated.  Shas spokesman Ro'i Lachmanovitch told IsraelNationalNews that Shas is not governed by "public perceptions," and that "Jerusalem is not currently being negotiated."

Shteinitz, Too
MK Yuval Shteinitz, of the opposition Likud party, said, "In no other proper country, not in the United States nor England, would the leader who is ending his term in only a few weeks dare to sign a fateful agreement that is so controversial."