Olmert, Abbas to Meet to Salvage Talks

Contested settlement threatens to undo Annapolis process
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2007 9:30 AM CST
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is seen during a meeting with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah,not seen, as part of Christmas festivities in the West Bank city of Bethlehem,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas will meet tomorrow in hopes of resolving the settlement crisis that is threatening to derail the Annapolis peace process. Haaretz reports that the Israeli PM and the Palestinian leader will discuss a contested tender by the Israeli housing ministry for 307 homes to be constructed in Har Homa, a southeast Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the Green Line, the pre-Six Day War border.

"This kills the credibility of the peace process," said the Palestinian Authority's top negotiator. The Israeli PM is in a difficult position: if he accedes to Palestinian demands to respect the Green Line, then he risks losing the support of the right-wing parties that form an integral part of his coalition government. Officials in Jerusalem claim the housing tender was a low-level bureaucratic decision of which Olmert was unaware.