Israel is trying to shore up U.S. objections to the planned
Palestinian Authority coalition government. Top aides of Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert traveled Sunday to Washington, where they will urge Bush
administration officials not to yield to European calls to engage the
Hamas-Fatah unity government when it is formed. The Palestinian Authority
power-sharing pact, which was signed in Saudi Arabia last month, contains
a vague reference to “respecting” past peace deals with Israel, falling
short of Western demands that the Hamas-led government recognize the
Jewish state and renounce terrorism. But Israel believes that some
European nations are wavering for fear that the Palestinian Authority’s
continued isolation will harm its president, Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader
and a perceived moderate.
Separately, U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury Stuart
Levey was in Israel on Sunday for talks with local officials on the
effect of the Western aid embargo on the Palestinian Authority, and
whether such measures could also be applied against Iran’s nuclear program.