Attah: Politicians at the summit will achieve little

A trilateral summit on Monday between Israel, the Palestinians and the US has failed to make any substantial progress towards a lasting peace in the region.

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said after the summit meeting that the group would reconvene "soon" to continue negotiations.

Civilians in Israel and the Palestinian territories were asked before the meeting what they hoped the summit would achieve.

Raed Attah Allah, pottery workshop owner, Gaza

 

Are you hopeful that the trilateral talks will achieve anything?

 

They [the politicians] just sit and talk. They do not do what they say. They do whatever the United States wants. If they do not, the United States is not satisfied. I do not think that the United States would recognise the coming Palestinian government.

 

Do you believe that Rice's summit with Abbas and Olmert will change your living conditions?

 

I hope it would, but I don't think so. I believe it will be just like the previous ones. We are used to [receiving] just words from them, from the United States, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

 

Ilan, father, Jerusalem

 

What are your expectations for the summit?

 

Ilan, Jerusalem
I've been living in Israel for the last 16 years and I've seen many of these between our leaders and other Arab leaders and unfortunately nothing has come out of any of them.

 

"The Arab leaders might say that they want peace, but they haven't done enough to show that's what they really want. I think all they want is what they say is their land back, land that they lost fair and square is every war against Israel - wars that we did not want.

 

Condoleezza Rice thinks she can come and have a coffee with Ehud Olmert and an Arab leader and that will be it. But it's not that easy.

 

What do you think of the prospects for the Palestinian unity government?

 

The national unity government has to show in a serious way that they are, in the long run, stopping terrorism. They need to show us that it is a consistent thing and that the bloodshed will end.

 

Muhammad Rabia, restaurant owner, Ram Allah, West Bank

 

Muhammad Rabia
Are you hopeful for the tripartite talks?

 

I hope [Rice's visit] will be good. Depending on one thing - if the American government sticks to what they preach; if they practise what they preach. Democracy, free elections, human rights, freedom and so on.

 

What about the US and Israeli stance towards the unity government? 

 

If they stick to their so-called principles, they should support it. Why should they not? They have to respect our decision. They have to respect anybody's decision.

 

If they do not like what we are doing, what we preach, they might as well bring somebody from outside and say 'this is your president', "this is you government ... follow them". And then they will see what happens.

 

I feel that this visit came right now to cut the way or the road on this new government. But I hope I'm wrong.

 

What do you think when Condoleezza Rice says she wants to improve the Palestinians' lives?

 

Wasim Abdo
She wants to improve my and the Palestinians' lives? Why now? She has been sleeping for six years. What happened?

 

Wasim Abdo, flower shop owner, Gaza

 

America and Israel are always against the Palestinian people. I don't think they will ever adopt a [positive] stance towards the Palestinian people.

 

Moran, waitress, Jerusalem

 

Do you think Condoleezza Rice will be able to effect any change in the Palestinian unity government’s stance towards the recognition of Israel?

 

Moran, Jerusalem
I hope she will make some peace between us and the Palestinians. It is a problem that we live in the same country, yet we have so many problems – from our side and their side.

 

Are you hopeful that the unity government will progress in the region?

 

I hope so. Firstly, they have to recognise Israel. They have to resolve their issues – they're killing each other and it's really wrong.

 

We're human. We have children, and we want to live.

 

Supermarket owner, Ramallah, West Bank

 

What do you expect from the meeting?

 

Ramallah shopkeeper

I do not expect anything [positive] from Rice's visit. On the contrary, I think it will affect the formation of the national unity government.

 

During her previous visits, we found out that every delay in the formation of the national unity government is caused by Rice's visits and direct US-Israeli pressure.

 

Even if a national unity government was formed, the Israelis would demand it to be formed according to their and the US standards. That is why Rice's visit would do nothing in the region. 

The US wants these meetings to divert the attention of the international community away from the real events going on in al-Quds and the repressive practices against the Palestinians.

Following Abbas's meeting, they said that some detainees would be released, but none were released. They said they would remove the checkpoints, but they set up more checkpoints.

 

Itzik, sandwich shop owner, Jerusalem

 

Itzik, Jerusalem
What do you think of the Palestinian unity government? Should Israel accept it?

 

I don't think we should accept it because Hamas doesn't want to make any peace with Israel. They don't want to recognise us. Hamas don't follow the idea of the Palestinian president.

 

What do you think will happen in the trilateral summit?

 

Nothing, nothing. It will be the same as usual. Maybe if Abbas won a new election, something would have happened. Right now, Hamas doesn't want to make a solution and people are suffering.

Source: Al Jazeera