Head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Ahmed Qureia (also known as Abu Ala), said Saturday that if a joint Israeli-Palestinian statement is not drafted before the upcoming Middle East peace conference, the Palestinian Authority may not participate in it.Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, one of the two current PA Prime Ministers appointed by Abbas, said "We are going to appeal directly to the Arab brothers, especially the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and will ask them to reconsider any decision to participate in this conference."
Qureia, a former PA prime minister, told Saudi newspaper Al-Watan that both sides must agree before the conference on a timetable for implementing agreements.
Successful negotiations will require reasonable compromises by all sides. Since the start of the Oslo Process fourteen years ago, Israel has made countless, tangible concessions, while the Palestinian Arabs have yet to make a single concession. Even the supposedly "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas continues to insist the Palestinian Arabs must get every inch of the disputed territories, that Jerusalem must be redivided, and that the descendents of Arabs who left what is now Israel have the unrestricted right to immigrate into Israel.
Meanwhile, as reported by Khaled Abu Toameh in the article Summit failure may ignite new intifada, "A failure in the upcoming US-sponsored Middle East peace conference would have more dangerous repercussions than the botched Camp David summit in 2000, Fatah officials warned."
So much for the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas eshewing terrorism.
If Condoleeza Rice expects to make any real progress toward an Arab-Israeli peace, the crucial first step is to start pressuring the Arab side to show some goodwill and willingness to compromise. If she doesn't do that, then the best we can hope for is the Palestinian Arabs carry out their threat to boycott the conference.