Olmert and Abbas agree to negotiators getting down to core issues of the Israel-Palestinian dispute

This decision Tuesday, Jan. 8, purports to kick off the final status talks between the teams lead by Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian ex-PM Ahmed Qureia on Jerusalem, borders and refugees. debkafile‘s political sources report that the joint statement by Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas the day before US President George Bush’s arrival, is no more than a gesture to show him some momentum towards his goal of a Palestinian state by the end of 2008. But no real progress may be inferred – even in the Israel-Palestinian talks thus far on current issues.
Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that, during the Bush visit, he will not make good on his pledge to take his Israel Beitenu party out of the government if a core issues are broached. He will first ask prime minister Olmert for clarifications.
The stringent security measures imposed in the capital are partly designed to prevent Israelis opposed to concessions to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem from staging protest demonstrations in the vicinity of the visiting president. Tuesday, one group linked hands in a living circle around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

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