Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
PA President Mahmoud Abbas
Following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's conciliatory speech Monday, Palestinian Authority officials hope that diplomatic contacts would lead to a summit between Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
A senior PA official told Ynet Tuesday that "the next couple of days could be very significant and critical, if the Israeli intentions are indeed positive."
However, the official stated that Israel has already made positive statements regarding the negotiations and the need to strengthen Abbas in the past, but in effect has implemented a very different policy.
In the meantime, sources in the Authority hope that during the upcoming meeting between Abbas, United States President George W. Bush, and Jordan's King Abdullah, progress will be made regarding a broadening of the ceasefire to the West Bank area. Palestinian officials also hope that the Americans and the Jordanians will be able to convince Israel to halt the targeted killings and arrest raids in the West Bank.
The Palestinian factions have been holding discussions in recent days regarding the possibility of a truce in the West Bank. Abbas' associates said that there is a high chance that the groups agree to commit to a ceasefire, despite their declarations about the right to continue the resistance to the occupation in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, PA sources expect that the meeting will lead to progress on the establishment of a Fatha-Hamas unity government. A Palestinian source told Ynet that in talks with Hamas about a unity government, the movement has demanded that the Palestinian president provide it with guarantees that the economic blockade that has been imposed on the PA will be lifted.
The official added that if there is a breakthrough on the unity government issue, progress on the subject of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit can be expected as well.