- The Media Line - https://themedialine.org -

Palestinians Accuse Olmert Of Harming ‘Abbas’ Standing

Palestinian leaders are accusing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of harming the public standing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas by rejecting terms offered for a prisoner release. Most observers had believed Olmert was ready to accept the deal, which would have seen a number of Palestinians being held by Israel released prior to the return of captured soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit, and then a further release of Palestinian prisoners after Shalit was set free. At last Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Olmert proposed releasing between 20 and 30 prisoners as a goodwill gesture. But on Friday, Olmert rejected the proposal, saying he would not release any Palestinians until Shalit was repatriated. The surprise at Olmert’s action is because of his cooperation with the American policy of buoying ‘Abbas in order to build his political strength as he battles for control against Hamas. Analysts at The Media Line suggest that the Palestinians’ selection of the specific criticism that Olmert is harming ‘Abbas’ standing is aimed at soliciting American pressure on the Israeli premier.