The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8


Rice on Summit: Full Steam Ahead – More or Less
(by Hana Levi Julian and Hillel Fendel)

( U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will arrive in Israel on Saturday to hold preliminary discussions with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas prior to Monday’s three-way summit in Jerusalem.

Rice has already announced that she hopes the establishment of a Palestinian Authority State will be on the agenda. She has told both Olmert and Abbas that they should begin discussing this issue.

The dangers of a Palestinian State west of the Jordan have been outlined and detailed by countless experts. Such a state would be “the world’s worst nightmare,” writes Middle East analyst Emanuel A. Winston, and “the last link in a string of terrorist states that will stretch from Algeria through Sudan, soon Egypt and then [others]… They will not only incubate new terror groups but will also increase their linkage and operational efficiency for major strikes against America – as well as Israel.”

Rafael Israeli has edited a book entitled, “Dangers of a Palestinian State,” which features articles by Israel’s leading political analysts outlining the strategic threat of such an entity.

From the demographic angle, Michael Wise, co-author of The 1.5-Million-Arab Population Gap, writes that, “PA control of any part of the West Bank could result in the arrival of 2-2.5 million Palestinian ‘refugees’ over the course of 3-5 years.” The first to arrive, Wise feels, would be the more than 400,000 who have been living in abject poverty in Lebanon, to be followed soon after by up to millions more in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and elsewhere. “The opportunity to be resettled in Palestine with enormous global financial and political support will be very attractive and immediately accepted by those refugees.”

Though a breakthrough in PA unity government talks between Hamas and Fatah was announced in Mecca last week, the new government has still not been formed, as major issues have still not been resolved. Contrary to earlier threats, however, Hamas leader Abu Haniye did resign yesterday, partially paving the way for the new government to be installed.

Rice was careful to reiterate the American “wait-and-see” theme throughout a news conference, dodging questions about whether the U.S. would indeed recognize the new PA unity government. “We’re not going to jump the gun here,” she said repeatedly. “We’re not going to make a judgment here until we have something that’s firm.”

But Rice did not deny a report that Middle East envoy David Welch called Abbas this week to warn him that the U.S. will not recognize the new PA unity government because its leading faction, Hamas, has not recognized the State of Israel.

“You know that I’m not going to talk about what we’ve done diplomatically,” she said.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack was equally cautious about commenting on the report. “Back up!” he told journalists Thursday when asked about Bush administration plans to boycott the new Hamas-Fatah PA government.

McCormack, like Rice, said no decisions had yet been made on an American response either way. “You don’t have a government of national unity,” he told reporters. “You don’t know who’s in that government. You don’t know the platform of that government… On the basis of that lack of facts, I can’t offer you an answer.”

The Quartet – comprised of the U.S., Russia, the United Nations and the European Union – has until now continued to demand that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and uphold agreements with Israel signed by previous PA governments.

Whether they will stand by those demands in light of the new Fatah alliance with Hamas, however, remains a question. Rice ducked the issue. “I can’t begin to predict what the international reaction is going to look like right now,” she said.

Despite her efforts to put a positive spin on the upcoming summit, it is clear that Rice has begun to realize that “never” often simply means “wait a bit” in the PA. For example, Abbas long claimed that he would “never” join a Hamas government that does not meet the Quartet demands – but this quickly dissolved when he signed on to the pact in Mecca last week.

“We are going to await the formation of that government before we make any decisions about it,” she told reporters before setting out for Jerusalem. “Eventually you’re going to have to get to a Palestinian government that accepts that it is to live side by side in peace with an Israeli neighbor.”

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