Obama-Netanyahu-Abbas summit scheduled for Sept. 22 in New York

The Obama administration early Wednesday Sept 9 decided to schedule a tripartite US-Israeli-Palestinian summit at UN center in New York for Sept 22, debkafile‘s Washington sources report, the day before the US president meets Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at the UN General Assembly.
The three leaders will declare Middle East peace talks resumed from that point. Defense minister Ehud Barak was referring to this development when he warned Tuesday night that Israel must brace for hard decisions.
debkafile‘s political sources note that the US president’s scheduling of the tripartite summit will require Netanyahu, Barak and foreign minister Lieberman to be present in New York and away from Israel over the New Year Festival.
Our Middle East sources report that the Arab leaders, Saudi King Abdullah and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, are working hard to beat the rival Palestinian side into shape and force them to bury the hatchet, at least ad hoc, in order to send a united delegation to the peace talks. Their heavy arm-twisting has kept Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and their parties airborne between Gaza, Damascus, Cairo and Riyadh for the last couple of weeks. A prisoner trade to free the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit was not at the forefront of their meetings, as widely reported by Israeli media.
Past Saudi and Egyptian efforts to mend the rift in Palestinian ranks have consistently failed, but Middle East sources insist that this time Abdullah and Mubarak are determined not to take no for an answer.
The Saudi king had Abbas on the carpet in Riyadh this week to warn him that disobedience would lead to the cutoff of the oil kingdom’s financial and political support for the Palestinian Authority and himself as its head. And senior facilitator, the Egyptian intelligence minister, Omar Suleiman, warned the Damascus-based Hamas chief Meshaal that persevering in his quarrel with the Fatah would bring about the severance of Cairo’s ties with his organization and the tightening of its siege on the Gaza Strip.
Abdullah and Mubarak plan to use September for hammering out a Hamas-Fatah power-sharing accord to establish a unified Palestinian national government capable of deputizing a large Fatah delegation headed by Fatah veteran Nabil Shaat to the peace talks with Israel. This would be a first since the Hamas coup drove the Palestinian Authority and its dominant Fatah out of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.
If the two Arab rulers achieve their objective, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be confronted at the negotiating table by a Palestinian delegation representing a government in which the extremist Islamic Hamas organization is broadly represented.

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