The lead topic for today's meeting: how to spin Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to enter into direct peace talks with Israel so that the Palestinians will not be viewed as intransigent. The game plan: Hamilton and Sawafta will take the "Abbas is wary of walking into an Israeli trap" angle. Spetalnick offers to pretend that the Palestinians suspect Israel may be building kindergartens in the disputed territories. Tom Perry will suggest that Abbas is vulnerable to "domestic criticism" for negotiating with Israeli "right-wingers". And now we learn that Jeffrey Heller will argue that Abbas is just being prudent as he awaits further concessions from Netanyahu:
Allyn Fisher-Ilan wants to make sure her moon is in the right position before she decides on a strategy.Netanyahu promised publicly in Washington to take "concrete steps" within weeks to persuade the Palestinians to upgrade the peace talks. Palestinians have said they would wait and see what those measure entail before agreeing to direct talks.