Friday, November 09, 2007
Tension is high and nerves are becoming frayed as a date for President George W. Bush's Annapolis Mideast peace summit nears and no agreement between Israel and the Palestinians appears to be any closer. On Wednesday the American administration issued a rare public reprimand to Israel, complaining that their actions in the West Bank city of Nablus are preventing the Palestinian Authority, its prime minister Salam Faya'd, and its chairman, Mahmoud 'Abbas, from being able to assert control. At issue was an Israeli military operation in which its army seized 86 sets of body armor from 'Abbas' Presidential Guard. U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones was ordered to issue the rebuke, joining with the Palestinians in accusing Israel of undermining the esteem of the newly deployed Palestinian forces. Three Hundred Palestinian security officers were sent to Nablus last week with 300 Presidential Guardsmen due to be added to that force. Remaining unsaid in the American reproof is the insinuation that the Olmert government wants the Palestinian effort to fail in order to justify Israeli reluctance to capitulate to American pressure to turn over security control of more cities to the Palestinians.