"We are closer than ever to understandings that are liable to be the basis for agreements on two tracks of rapprochement – the Palestinian and the Syrian," Olmert said. "As long as I serve in my position, I will not rest from the attempt to bring the negotiations between us and our neighbors to a successful conclusion."
On the one hand, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has staked his entire presidency on the US-mediated negotiations with Israel. If Olmert chooses to pursue an agreement while he is still in office, Mr. Abbas has few alternatives. Abandoning the talks would give the rival Hamas party, which controls the Gaza Strip, a moral victory.
"He doesn't have a choice, because he's between a rock and a hard place," says Munther Dajani, a professor of political science at Al Quds University. "The only other card he has to play is to go home and dismantle the Palestinian Authority."