Olmert and Abbas smiled stiffly at Bush's words on Wednesday but did not shake hands, as they did awkwardly at Tuesday's international conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
The two sides will continue with a meeting on December 12 in Jerusalem. But serious questions remain about the viability of the new peace effort.
All three leaders - Bush, Abbas and Olmert - are politically weak at home, raising doubts whether they can make good on their promises. [NZH]
It's all a bit pathetic. They are each desperately unpopular with their own people. Bush couldn't even pronounce their names - he had to mumble them - and he's the turkey who's supposed to be facilitating this thing. This charade of deciding how much land Israel will be prepared to give back after its built a giant military wall around every fucking millimetre of it. The elected Palestinian Prime Minister's government in the over-flowing Gaza ghetto refugee camps meanwhile doesn't appear to enter into the equation.
Why are we not boycotting Israel? Because we will be accused of anti-semitism? It will damage our relationship with the US?Because the NZ government is controlled by a settler population which has a similar confiscation policy?
And right when all the Arab leaders are at a conference:
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has urged European countries to end their military cooperation with US forces in Afghanistan in an audio tape aired by Al Jazeera television.[stuff]