A friend and I were talking of the interesting news in Israel and the subject of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert trying to work to get an interim peace deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came up.
You could get dizzy watching the back and forth – the on again off again – and the to'ing and fro'ing of international diplomacy.
Mainly, last week both men said openly to the press that reaching a deal before the end of 2008 was not going to happen. Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded that it was not likely – lowering the expectations of the outcome of her visit here.
But this week – SURPRISE – Olmert took the lead and said it was indeed possible and in fact he and Abbas were committed to that goal – with Abbas acknowledging.
Then President Abass turned the table and said no. Perhaps things were moving too fast, perhaps the situation in Gaza needs to be rectified first, or maybe he was doing to others what has been done to him.
So where do things go from here?
As one living over here for quite a long time, and one who can listen to both sides of the story, I may come to this conclusion.
Media Headline: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Sunday with Palestinian Authority President Abbas – 'great!'
Now Reality: With all the desire to advance an agreement, from the moment that Mr. Olmert had to announce his resignation, he basically lost the public mandate to do work for their peace. Yes indeed, he still has to govern, but I am speaking in terms of public confidence. The Prime Minister's mandate is further restricted since he is not a candidate in the upcoming primaries to lead his political party Kadima, and that is about two weeks away and, lastly, not even the ministers of his party are supporting him on this quest to seal a deal.
And to be honest, Abbas is not in much better shape among his people and party as Palestinian elections are on the horizon.
Never a dull moment over here… Thanks for checking in on my blog.