A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
August 28 , 2007 Gilad Shalit Turns 21- Abbas and Olmert Meet
Today is Gilad ShalitŐs 21st birthday. He has now been held by Hamas in captivity for 429 days. There is no sign that he will be coming home any time soon.
Abbas and Olmert met today. Al Jazerra reported that a document was exchanged between the two men that represented an "agreement in principle" for ending the conflict. The agreement is very similar to TabaĐ offering a return to more or less 1967 borders with an exchange of land; Israel keeping major settlement blocks in return for land in the Negev. The agreement on Jerusalem is vague and there is no mention of refugees. Both Israeli and Palestinian sources deny the existence of the document. However, most observers believe the report is accurate. Whether Olmert and Abbas can move the process forward is doubtful- but not out of the question.
According to a survey done secretly for Olmert, 60% of the Israeli public supports the negotiations with Abu Mazen. 51% of Israelis support an agreement similar to the one described above. Not a large number, but considering the level of support for Olmert in the population at large, this number is significant.
Yesterday, an Israeli major was rescued in Jenin by Palestinian police forces. Tzvi Yechezkeli, of IsraelŐs Channel 10, and other Israeli reporters visited Jenin today to meet the police officers. His sense was that there has been a real change in atmosphere in Jenin. The Palestinians seem genuinely interested in cooperation with Israel. Hamas is now seen as a bigger enemy and only through cooperation with Israel do many Palestinians see a way to prevail.