After yesterday’s groundbreaking meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders another dramatic gesture – unthinkable when Yassir Arafat was alive. The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he is prepared to meet the Palestinian President at his West Bank office in Ramallah soon. The Israeli deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told EuroNews there is right now a rare opportunity for progress in the Middle East.
“We will not allow ourselves to miss this opportunity. We will not allow anyone to say Israelis had an opportunity and they didn’t try in the most serious manner. Israel can expect not to be asked to pull out of certain settlement blocks which would change the demographic nature of the West Bank.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is today meeting leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups to test their commitment to the truce. For the moment they are observing an unofficial end to attacks on Israel but stressed they are not bound by the Palestinian Authority’s ceasefire pledge.