Israeli-Syrian peace track breaks up amid shakeups in Jerusalem and Damascus

debkafile‘s Exclusive Middle East sources reveal that not only has prime minister Ehud Olmert’s chief of staff and lead negotiator with Syria, Yoram Turbowicz, decided to resign, but Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem, the leading proponent of talks with Israel in Damascus, is also on his way out.
Turkey, envisaging the breakdown of its initiative, has hared off in a new direction, a bid to mediate between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas.
In the last 24 hours, Hamas has become the object of hot pursuit by Turkey, Jordan which has decided to patch up its nine-year quarrel with the radical Palestinian group, and Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, who suddenly ordered the release of 200 Hamas prisoners in the interests of reconciliation with Fatah’s rival in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Ehud Olmert, have announced he was quitting after the Kadima primary, pledged to pursue his peace talks with Abbas, while foreign minister Tzipi Livni promised in New York to work for a peace deal with the Palestinians this year and the consummation of the (defunct) “Annapolis process.”
According to our sources, although Ankara has booked two more Israel-Syrian sessions for this month and next, Turkish officials who brokered them have informed prime minister Tayyep Erdogan that the initiative had run into the sand. To keep its hand in, the Ankara government has offered to shuttle between Gaza and Jerusalem in a fresh mediation bid between Israel and Hamas.
As for Jordan, our intelligence sources disclose that last week the Director of the Hashemite Kingdom’s General Intelligence service, Gen. Muhammad Zouabi, met three local Muslim Brotherhood leaders to lay the groundwork for an interview with Hamas representatives.
Two days later, Gen. Zouabi held talks with Hamas high-ups Muhammad Nazal and Muhammad Nasser, who came especially to Amman from Damascus.
Jordanian leaders have concluded, unlike their Israeli counterparts, that Mahmoud Abbas is heading for a deal with Hamas, rather than a peace agreement with Israel and is moving forward to negotiate a national unity government. Amman does not want to miss this train.
To fuel the reconciliation process brokered by Egypt, the Palestinian leader ordered the release of all the Hamas operatives his security forces detained on the West Bank in retaliation for the Hamas purge of his Fatah in Gaza. He gave the order, even though Hamas has not called off its purge.

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