Olmert sees Bush at White House on June 19, first meets Abu Mazen June 7

The US secretary of state has cautioned Israel against seeking peace talks with Syria instead of focusing on the Palestinian track.
Condoleezza Rice says there is no substitute for creating a Palestinian state. Her efforts to create a political horizon to this end have been stalled at every hand, because many observers say her goal is unrealistic at this time.
She discussed the stalled peace process with Group of Eight foreign ministers in Berlin Wednesday, as well as the dispute with Iran over its nuclear program.
debkafile reports: Washington has bolstered Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, but he is a fading force on the Palestinian scene and has little clout to follow through on peace talks with Israel. After he opted for a power-sharing deal between his Fatah and Hamas in Mecca in January, the two Palestinian groups embarked on a factional war and Hamas launched a missile offensive against Israel.
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s popularity ratings are at rock bottom for his mismanagement of last year’s Lebanon War and his failure to put a stop to the missile barrage from Gaza. Concessions to the Palestinian leader amid uncontrollable Hamas violence would be politically suicidal. His innate indecisiveness, which the US secretary of state finds so frustrating, is exacerbated by opposing pressures from Washington for concessions to Abbas countered by domestic demands for stronger punitive action against the Palestinian missile launchers.
Outside experts criticeze Rice for spending so much time on a diplomatic long shot, rather than seeking to quickly end the violence.

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