by Stewart Ain and Joshua Mitnick |
Israel Correspondent and Staff Writer
This week's summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed what Sharon did not want to hear: that Abbas has so little power he cannot guarantee any promises he makes.
That analysis by many Israeli observers was buttressed by this exchange at Tuesday's two-hour meeting, as reported on Israel's Channel 1:
Abbas: "Help me, I'm weak."
Sharon: "Don't say that, people might believe it."
Even the Bush administration now knows it.
Five candidates are vying for the leadership in a Labor Party primary June 28 that some are viewing as crucial in positioning the party for major gains in the general election next year.
"It's clear that [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's government is in trouble," said Yossi Alpher, a political analyst and former adviser to then-Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak. "It's not clear that [Sharon] will get his [Likud] party's nomination."
Alpher said it was unclear also how the Gaza disengagement slated to begin Aug. 15 would affect Sharon's nomination.
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, was confirmed by the UN General Assembly Monday to be one of its 21 vice presidents, the first time Israel has held that position since Abba Eban served there 53 years ago.
Gillerman, who was endorsed for the post by the Western European and Others Regional Group (including the United States, Western Europe and Canada), said he hoped to use the position to eliminate or limit the number of anti-Israel resolutions that are adopted each year.
Both the police and demonstrators declared victory this week following Monday's anti-disengagement sit-in demonstrations, termed a dry run for later this summer, that blocked 40 intersections in several cities and resulted in more than 300 arrests.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stepped up the pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week to disarm Hamas terrorists before Palestinian elections in July, warning that failure to do so would stop the peace process. But Abbas refused.