Even though the Arab League agreed in principle to
direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continues
to insist on conditions and guarantees before concluding the phase of indirect proximity talks.
However, Western diplomats estimate that he will change his stance by the beginning of September.
Western diplomatic sources quoted by British Telegraph newspaper on Thursday said Abbas would not withstand the pressure for a very long time, and "is preparing the ground for what could be the gamble of his political career."
A European diplomat noted that "What Abbas is saying in public is not necessarily what he is saying in private. He is navigating unbelievably treacherous waters and is trying to find a way out that will save face."
Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said the Arab League has agreed in principle to direct Palestinian talks with Israel,
however noted that "there is agreement, but agreement over the principles of what will be discussed and the manner of the direct negotiations."
The statement delivered Thursday by the Arab nations was vaguely worded, and according to an official diplomat, was "a yellow light that needs some work before it becomes a green light."
The Palestinian president noted ahead of the summit that he was under extreme American and European pressure to restart negotiations. "I am under a level of pressure that I haven't experienced in my whole life," Abbas was quoted as saying.
The Arab League's decision gave Abbas much needed political support ahead of a decision that might not be as popular among Palestinians domestically.
The United States lauded on Thursday the Arab League's decision. US State Department Spokesman Phillip Crowley said the voices coming from the Arab world were encouraging.
slammed the decision, claiming "direct talks will lead to more suffering by the Palestinians, because Israel will continue building settlements."
Responding to the Arab League's decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said
he was "willing to begin direct and candid talks with the Palestinian Authority in the upcoming days."