Sunday, Jun 08, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Atul Aneja
The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat (right), talks with his Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, during the PLO Executive meeting in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Friday. AP
Hamas officials said on Friday they were cutting off their truce negotiations with Palestinian officials in anger over the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas' concessions at a West Asia summit on Wednesday in Jordan. The Palestinian Foreign Minister, Nabil Shaath, on Saturday accused Hamas of jumping the gun, pulling out of the talks before the Palestinian officials could meet with them to explain what happened at the closed-door meetings at the summit.
The Palestinian Information Minister, Nabil Amr, urged the militant group to return to the negotiations and give Mr. Abbas a chance to defend his actions at the summit. AP
'Road map' success hinges on Arafat
Sources said Mr. Arafat's involvement in the peace process, as of now, was indispensable, because he exercises overarching influence over the Fatah faction the core of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which he heads. Mr. Arafat, it is understood, also exercises considerable control over the Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade that are attached to the Fatah and have frequently carried out armed attacks against Israelis. Despite repeated efforts to isolate him, Mr. Arafat continues to be the most popular mass leader within the folds of the PLO.
Recent opinion polls show that Mr. Arafat's popularity is far ahead of other Palestinian leaders such as Marwan Barghouti and the Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Prime Minister.
According to sources, the peace process is likely to run into a dead-end unless Mr. Arafat is co-opted. This is because there are indications that Mr. Arafat has so far not taken the strategic decision of supporting the peace process, anchored by the peace "road map" authored by the U.S. and supported by the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.
The chances of Mr. Arafat's early accommodation, at least formally, are extremely low, as the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, and the U.S. President, George Bush, have staked their prestige by publicly declaring that they will not deal with him. Sources say that two clear indications in the future would show whether the Aqaba peace process is beginning to gather any momentum.
First, in case Mr. Sharon is serious about his commitments as stated during the summit, it should lead to the resignation of some his extreme right-wing colleagues, such as Effi Eitam, a Minister from the National Religious Party.
That could mean that Mr. Sharon might begin depending on political support from the Opposition Labour party for his survival.
Second, the beginning of the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from Palestinian territories would be yet another indication to show that the peace process may be beginning to take root.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of