Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ramon to Olmert: Expose Secret Deals With PA Before Your Fall

Hillel Fendel

Vice Premier Chaim Ramon has called on the Olmert government to publicize the details of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, so as to avoid "wasting time" for the next government.

Ramon, a long-time friend of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, thus banged another nail into Olmert's political coffin by indicating that new elections are already a foregone conclusion. Ramon, speaking over the weekend at the Washington Institute in the United States, at a special session on the Middle East, also predicted "new elections in November, just like in the United States."

Olmert Progressing Towards PA State
Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiating teams, headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), respectively, have been meeting for months with the goal of formulating a final status peace agreement, or at least the principles of such. Their goal is the creation of a Palestinian state on most or all of Judea and Samaria, which is currently populated by hundreds of thousands of Jews. Intermittent reports of various levels of progress have been reported, but without details.

Olmert has reportedly agreed to hand over more than 90% of Judea and Samaria, but the PA continues to insist on at least 98.5%.

Minister Ramon said that in order that the great amount of work invested by the sides not be wasted, the details of the negotiations - especially on the sensitive issues of borders, Arab refugees, and Jerusalem - should be publicized. If these details are made public, they are liable to obligate future Israeli governments.

Olmert and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas are set to meet privately this Monday, in keeping with their mutual commitment to meet frequently. No substantial progress is expected, however, given Olmert's precarious political situation.

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