Well…things are looking up. It seems the PA unity government is in trouble before it has even formed. The trouble started with the distinct lack of enthusiasm with which most of the international community received the news that came from the summit in Mecca. From the perspective of participants of the summit, a primary goal of the unity government had been to secure international acceptance, and it was not forthcoming.
What is more, while Olmert agreed to meet Abbas on the 19th, he put limits on the topics for discussion: no talking about final borders, return of refugees or the final status of Jerusalem. In other words, there was to be no substantive negotiation.
All of this gave PM Haniyeh pause. He was supposed to have tendered his resignation to make way for formation of the new government yesterday. But he did not; instead he has set three conditions for submitting that resignation. These conditions concern control of certain government positions (Interior Ministry and Deputy Prime Minister being key), and the continued existence of the Hamas militia, Executive Force, which Abbas had outlawed. Clearly, and as expected, the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas continues.
Fatah is disturbed by a shifting of Hamas demands after the agreement had been struck. Abbas has cancelled a televised speech that he was supposed to make tomorrow, Thursday, to announce the agreement of the Mecca Accord.
Palestinian Media Watch offers evidence of the "moderation" of Mahmoud Abbas. According to the PA paper Al-Hayat Al Jadida, Abbas has sent a telegram of greetings for an Iranian national holiday to president Ahmadinejad, expressing wishes for "further progress and prosperity."
Meanwhile the word I’m getting (YNet) is that Congress has frozen the $86 million promised to Abbas for strengthening the PA security forces until such time as there is clarification regarding the terms of the Mecca deal.
Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi was sworn in as IDF Chief of Staff today, and convened his first General Staff meeting. Hopes are high that he will be able to shape up the military in a number of significant ways.
Sunday night the IAF successfully tested the Arrow missile — the only operational missile defense system in the world, capable of taking out an Iranian Shihab 3 carrying a nuclear warhead. Two Arrow batteries are now in place and consideration is being given to deployment of two additional batteries.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/2/14/posted-february-14-2007.html