U.S. to Egypt: Fatah-Hamas deal undermines Israel-PA talks

U.S. to Egypt: Fatah-Hamas deal undermines Israel-PA talks

The United States sent a message to Egypt stating it does not support the proposed reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas as it would undermine negotiations with Israel, Haaretz has learned.

George Mitchell, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, met on Saturday night in Cairo with the chief of Egyptian intelligence, Gen. Omar Suleiman, and told him the United States would not support an agreement not aligned with the principles of the Quartet.

According to the agreement, which was supposed to have been signed by Thursday, Abbas was to issue a presidential decree no later than October 25, scheduling both parliamentary and presidential elections for June 28. Eighty percent of the delegates to the Palestinian parliament were to be elected by party basis, and 20 percent by constituency.

A special committee with delegates from all factions was supposed to have assumed control of the Gaza Strip, reporting to Abbas. The Strip was also to see a new security force, staffed with members of all Palestinian factions.

Sources told Haaretz that Mitchell made clear to the Egyptians on Saturday the United States expects any Palestinian government to follow the conditions of the Quartet, which include recognition of the State of Israel, acknowledging earlier agreements and renouncing terrorism.

Mitchell also said certain aspects of current agreement were poorly timed as they would undermine relaunching negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. [continued…]

Palestinian memo says hopes in Obama ‘evaporated’

An internal document circulated among members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ political party says all hopes placed in the Obama administration “have evaporated” because of alleged White House backtracking on key issues to the Palestinians.

The Fatah Party memorandum, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, accuses the United States of backing off from its demands that Israel freeze settlement construction and failing to set a clear agenda for new Mideast peace talks.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Oct. 12 document reflected Abbas’ views or was intended to be leaked as Fatah’s attempt to pressure President Barack Obama to bear down harder on Israel.

The document said the Palestinians have lost hope in Obama and accused the American leader of caving in to pressure from pro-Israel lobbyists in Washington.

“All hopes placed in the new U.S. administration and President Obama have evaporated,” said the document issued by Fatah’s Office of Mobilization and Organization. The department is headed Fatah’s No. 2, Mohammed Ghneim. [continued…]

Turkey’s attitude toward Israel is changing

Turkey did not hide its deep opposition to Israel’s policies in the territories in general and to Operation Lead Cast in particular. Erdogan’s outburst against President Shimon Peres last January at the Davos gathering did not stem from Islamist or pro-Iranian objectives.

Erdogan’s support for a UN deliberation of the Goldstone Report and his declaration that “those responsible for war crimes must be identified and held accountable,” is not based on any wish to please Iran or Syria. Turkey has a steady and clear policy on this issue and it is not a proxy for any country.

Public opinion exists in Turkey too and it is influential, and when the prime minister sees thousands of Turks protesting against Israel’s policy in Jerusalem, he cannot remain indifferent. At the same time, Turkey continues and will continue to have normal ties with Israel because such a relationship is part of Turkey’s strategy, but today it finds itself in a different international status, of the sort that allows it to also take swipes at Israel. [continued…]

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