Hamas to respect agreements but not accept them. Huh????

DEBKAfile Exclusive: Riyadh informs Washington that a Palestinian unity government under its auspices will not uphold previous agreements with Israel

February 6, 2007,

The Saudis notified the Bush administration ahead of the Mecca reconciliation summit Tuesday, Feb. 6, that the Palestinian accord for a coalition government sponsored by Riyadh will not meet a key Middle East Quartet condition for its recognition: The new government will not accept past accords, including peace agreements the Palestinian Liberation Organization signed with Israel. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report: The new Palestinian government initiated in Mecca will only “respect” past accords – not accept them.

Nonetheless, the US and Europe were expected by Riyadh to lift the international embargo and economic siege imposed on the Hamas government.

[This is a huge development. What happened to the so called alignment between “moderates” and radicals? What possible peace deal can Israel achieve with the Arabs. None. My guess is that Olmert has already indicated that he will negotiate under these terms. Suicide. Labour has certainly said it will negotiate with Hamas. I highly doubt this government will give the go ahead for a massive operation in Gaza.]

In a separate missive to President George W. Bush and vice president Dick Cheney, Saudi King Abdullah stated that if the embargo is not lifted, Saudi Arabia will step in with all the funds the new Palestinian administration needs – an approximate annual sum of $1 billion.

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources disclose that this promise from Abdullah to Palestinian Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal was the key element paving the way for the Palestinian reconciliation pact to be signed in Mecca Tuesday. The monarch also sent notes to Russian president Vladimir Putin, French president Jacques Chirac and British premier Tony Blair.

In a flurry of briefings to senior administration officials in Washington, Saudi diplomats are explaining the following:

    Riyadh has achieved most US foreign policy goals, especially the effective removal of Hamas from high office. The new Palestinian government will be headed by a neutral figure in place of Ismail Haniye and the key portfolios will pass to Fatah or independents. Washington is therefore advised not to make an issue of the Palestinian coalition’s non-recognition of Israel and past peace accords, or of the fact that Hamas will hold a majority in the new cabinet.

American officials have not so far reacted to the Saudi initiative.

They are waiting to see how the Mecca summit turns out and the application of the documents signed there by Meshaal and Mahmoud Abbas on the ground in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The Saudi government is ready to go with a huge campaign to sell the Mecca accords in Europe and Israel. It will aim to persuade the European Union to remove its economic embargo against the Palestinian government, without waiting for Washington, while also stirring up domestic pressure in Israel for acceptance of the Mecca agreement and consent to start negotiations with Hamas. The Saudis hope this campaign in Israel will be more effective than the drive for talks with Syria.

The Saudi correspondence mentions no strings attached to its economic assistance; there is no mention of any break of Hamas ties with Iran, a stoppage of the flow of Iranian weapons and cash to the Gaza Strip, or the evacuation of Iranian and Hizballah officers. Hamas therefore stands to come away from Mecca in triumph, with a Saudi-endorsed majority in the new Palestinian government, an assured cash flow from Saudi Arabia as well as Iran, and nothing to stop the continuation of military aid from Tehran and Hizballah as their investment in Hamas preparations for war with Israel.

Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin planned the rare news conference he held Monday, Feb. 5, as an eye-opener to the negative aspects for Israel of a Palestinian unity government under Saudi auspices. He stressed the depth of Iranian penetration of the Gaza Strip and the peril it posed to Israel’s security. Diskin found it necessary to bring these warnings before the Israeli public after the nation’s policy-makers refused to heed his wake-up call.

February 6, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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