The Palestinian angle on the Olmert affair: Palestinian Authority officials are concerned that the new suspicions against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will affect his ability to make progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, PA sources said Tuesday.
A senior Palestinian source told Ynet: “We are concerned that everything that happens now between Israel and us will be useless and a waste of time.”
According to this source, the PA was surprised to hear Olmert's Office reporting progress in talks on the issue of borders.
The senior source said that after reports on the new Olmert affair surfaced, the PA assumed the Israeli PM was trying to maintain a "business as usual" facade even while facing an investigation.
The PA is also worried that Olmert will be accused of using the negotiations to shift the spotlight away from his probe. Under the circumstances, the Palestinians fear that he will neither have political nor public legitimacy – and even less moral authority – to reach any kind of agreement or understanding with the Palestinians.
“Though we are not negotiating with him on a personal level, but as Israel’s prime minister, we highly doubt his ability to advance matters,” the Palestinian source said, stressing that any agreements reached with Olmert would bind any future governments.
“This is our main reason for agreeing to continue negotiating,” he said. “Despite the hurdles and the Israeli defense minister’s attempt to destroy any chance for a ceasefire, our only chance for true progress is with Olmert.”
On Monday, Olmert met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss political and security matters.
“Those were the most serious talks the two sides have ever held,” Olmert’s Spokesman Mark Regev said following the meeting.