Abbas meets Olmert in Jerusalem

Talks to address ways of easing the effects of Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

    Abbas warned that a US-sponsored conference in November could be a "waste of time" [EPA]

    Abbas and Olmert have been meeting regularly for several months, last meeting in Jericho on August 6, but few concrete results have emerged from the summits.
    'False promises'
    Walid Batrawi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the West Bank, said Palestinians had low expectations of Tuesday's meeting.

    One Ramallah resident said: "There is nothing serious building up from these meetings. I am being cynical but not totally negative. Something might come up but there are no indicators."

    Another Palestinian man told Al Jazeera: "We hold meeting, nothing materialises. We only get promises, false promises from the Israelis."

    Israel prefers to discuss general principles, while the Palestinians are pressing for talks on the core issues: Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, borders and Jewish settlements.

    Israeli political commentators said Olmert, weakened by the failings of his government and the military in last year's Lebanon war, was in no rush to tackle such issues in depth and risk splitting a cabinet that includes the far-right.

    Abbas said in his televised remarks on Monday that his talks with Olmert would again address ways of easing the effects of Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

    Khalid Shaheen, a political analyst, said: "If the Palestinians do not see any political process that will lead to independence and a sovereign state in the West bank and Gaza and if they do not see any future to a better life, I do not think they would support the political process."

    Palestinians accuse Olmert of failing to deliver on what they say were promises at earlier meetings with Abbas to ease travel restrictions in the territory and scrap some of the checkpoints choking their movement between towns and villages.

    Citing security concerns, Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, has balked at rapid removal of roadblocks, saying his "primary commitment" was to protecting Israelis.

    He said only that the military was studying the matter.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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