Senior Palestinian officials on Tuesday said the United States must put heavy pressure on Israel to fully meet their demands if the Bush Administration is to have any hope of overseeing a final status Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
The Palestinians want Washington to "pressure Israel so as to be able to reach an agreed-on declaration" to close the upcoming US-hosted peace summit in Annapolis, Ha'aretz quoted Nabil Abu Rudeineh as telling Israeli journalists during this week's joint visit to Turkey by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Rudeineh, one of Abbas' top advisors, continued by complaining of "political problems in Israel [that] are preventing progress in the formulation of a joint declaration." He was referring to opposition Olmert and his deputies are facing, even from within their own party, to the idea of surrendering the bulk of Israel's biblical heartland to the Palestinians. Olmert himself has insisted that he will make no concessions until the Palestinians first give up on their demand to flood the Jewish state with millions of so-called "Palestinian refugees."
In his speech to the Turkish parliament, Abbas subtly threatened that if the Palestinians were not satisfied at Annapolis, the region could be plunged into another round of terrorist violence.