Olmert told Abbas 'you cheated me,' senior PA official says
Palestinian official who attended Jerusalem summit hosted by Rice says Israeli premier told Palestinian leader, 'you cheated me by reaching unity deal with Hamas'; Abbas responded by saying, 'you gave me nothing and didn’t keep your promises,’ official adds. Saeb Erekat: Rice made it clear that any Palestinian government must accept previous agreements, obligations
"Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, ‘you cheated me by reaching the unity deal with Hamas,'" a senior Palestinian official who attended the summit hosted by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Jerusalem told Reuters on Monday.
“President Abbas responded (by saying), ‘you gave me nothing and didn’t keep your promises,’" he added. Olmert’s office declined to comment.
The prime minister said in broadcast remarks to his Kadima party after the meeting that Israel and the United States agreed to boycott the Palestinian government, which has yet to be formed, unless it renounced violence, recognized Israel and accepted existing interim peace accords.
Rice reiterated it was the position of the “Quartet” of Middle East mediators trying to restart peace talks stalled for the past six years that these three conditions be met.
“(I thank Washington) for the unequivocal stance that it will not recognize a government that does not accept the Quartet’s principles,” Olmert said of the group composed of the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations.
'We, Fatah will join this government'
He set out additional conditions for an end to the Israeli boycott of a unity government, demanding Palestinians cease rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and immediately free an Israeli soldier captured in June.
Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said Rice made it clear that “any Palestinian government must accept previous agreements and obligations.”
A boycott by the United States could prevent a resumption of direct aid from Western donors to the Palestinian Authority that was cut off after Hamas defeated Abbas’ Fatah movement in an election a year ago.
A top security adviser to Abbas, Mohammed Dahlan, said Abbas would begin a visit to European and Arab countries on Tuesday to explain the unity government’s position.
“We, Fatah will join this government,” Dahlan told reporters later on Monday. “Nevertheless, we will continue to try to convince Israel to end the blockade.”
Speaking in Gaza earlier, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said Washington should change its stance because the unity government agenda “gives a large room for political movement.”
The Quartet is set to meet in Berlin on Wednesday to discuss the Abbas-Olmert meeting and how to deal with the new coalition forged in Mecca, Saudi Arabia this month.