By Jean Shaoul | 24 December 2007
Israeli military incursions into Gaza and targeted assassinations of militants have become an almost daily occurrence since last month’s Annapolis summit. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in such attacks.
Attended by representatives of 40 nations, including 16 Arab states, Annapolis was billed as a restart to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians that would resolve all the core issues involved in the long-running conflict by the end of 2008. But it was little more than a crude attempt by President Bush to provide a cover for the Arab regimes’ support for Washington’s preparations for an assault on Iran.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah president of the Palestinian Authority, was told in no uncertain terms that his task was to ensure the “security of Israel” by crushing all resistance to the occupation and regaining control of Gaza from Hamas. Any future Palestinian state was dependent on whether the United States determined that he had carried out this assignment. Implicit in this ultimatum was the threat that if he was not up to the job, Israel would intervene against Hamas.