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Saudi Arabia warned it wouldn’t attend the US-sponsored Middle East peace conference if the issue of Jerusalem were not on the agenda. It is not clear why should anyone care about the opinion of Saudi Arabia which doesn’t even produce enough oil to cover its welfare costs, and is altogether negligible in economic and military terms.
But the issue of Jerusalem is ostensibly settled. Olmert offered to Abbas the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem all that the Muslims have asked for. Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly aware of Olmert’s offer.
It seems that Olmert plays with the Palestinians: he released hundreds of relatively unimportant prisoners who already served arduous sentences, removed non-critical security checkpoints, drags the issue of evacuating the outposts, avoids uprooting Hamas whose existence is Israel’s pledge against Palestinian statehood, and now presented Jerusalem to Arabs in the offer too generous to be true. Saudis, accordingly, demand that Olmert repeats his promise under the American auspices.
Israel will be hard pressed to partition her capital, and Olmert’s maneuvering might not save the day.

NY Times reported that IDF is concerned with deliveries of nuclear materiel and facilities from North Korea to Syria. Arab media widely reports that Israel Air Force struck the Iranian long-range missile equipment in Syria. IAF jammed the Soviet Pantsyr missiles, demonstrating vulnerability of Syria and Iran to Israeli and American attacks. Russia will have to increase its military cooperation in Syria to compensate for the failed radars which the Muslims purchased as the ultimate deterrence of Israel.
Syria called up its reservists in anti-aircraft, missile, and armor units. Israel, too, partially mobilizes her reservists. Three US aircraft carrier group move into Persian Gulf.

Olmert rejects cutting off Israeli supply of water and electricity to Gaza, even though Palestinians don’t pay for the utilities. Israel doesn’t even deduct the cost of utilities from her tax transfers to Palestine.
Olmert believes that cutting water and electricity off won’t stop the PIJ and PRC from launching rockets at Israel. That assumption is highly dubious because Hamas would have to stop PIJ and PRC from launching rockets at Israel if it wants to retain its power in Gaza. Palestinians won’t support Hamas if its policies lead to cutoff in water and electricity supply.
Israeli government also rejects military intervention in Gaza to stop the incessant rocket attacks on Sderot. No country ever showed similar restraint in the face of aggression by a minor enemy. Olmert’s position on military operation in Gaza makes sense because it would unite Arabs against Israel, but makes no sense because Arabs are thus united, anyway. A speedy and efficient blow to Hamas would reestablish Israeli deterrence lost in the protracted war against Hezbollah.
Labor, Meretz MKs call for patience in the face of Palestinian rocket attacks. Abbas urges Israel against attacking Gaza because the attack would pit him with Israel against Palestinians or with Palestinians against Israel. The US demands restraint from Israel in order to conduct the show of the Middle East peace conference.

September 2007
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