Bernard Avishai has been working on an article set to appear soon in The New York Times Magazine based on exclusive recent interviews with Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas that indicate the two leaders were very close to achieving a peace deal two years ago. Details about Palestinian concessions during those negotiations have been leaked to Aljazeera (and there’s already been a preview of Avishai’s scoop on the front page of the Times). Avishai wants to avoid spilling any more of his story in advance of publication but he confirms Olmert and Abbas “left Obama small gaps to bridge…”
and both still want to see the president bridge them. The president does not have a great deal of time to digest what they negotiated, offer an American package based on their understandings, and rally the world to it. But if he proves courageous enough to do this…he can, let us say, finally earn his peace prize.
Uri Avnery – grandfather of Israel’s peace movement – offers his own astringent take below on the distracting “scandal” surrounding the leaks to “Aljazeera” about the Olmert/Abbas negotiations.