Officials call on Israel to be tougher with Abbas

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to travel to Turkey on Wednesday for a brief visit with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss his expectations for the upcoming trilateral meeting and Israel's understanding of the meaning of a Palestinian unity government.

Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz met Tuesday night to plan the upcoming meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Some in the Israeli administration are calling on its leaders to be tougher on Abbas because he “signed a deal with the devil” in Mecca.

One top intelligence official said Israel was going forward with the summit, not because of hopes for results, but rather because if it canceled the meeting it would prevent diplomatic progress.

Rice is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Saturday, and is expected to hold separate meetings with Olmert and Abbas before their joint summit, which will take place in Jerusalem.

Diplomatic officials said that because both sides wanted to see the visit “succeed,” it was unlikely that either issue would cast too heavy a cloud over Olmert’s trip.

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