Meeting Summary: Salam Fayyad and Tony Blair
Summary of meeting between Tony Blair and Salam Fayyad regarding "Follow up on AHLC and current situation," dated October 6, 2008. The meeting briefly touches on security checkpoints, Israeli deployment and Israeli cash to Gaza. They also discuss the role of Hamas at length. SF voiced concern on Arabs pushing reconciliation to pressure Hamas, otherwse there will be no deal before Jan 9.
"Hamas is growing stronger in Gaza and the PA cannot keep pretend to be running institutions when in fact they are not."
Attendees: Blair: Tony Blair (TB)
Rob Danine (RD)
Pals: Salam Fayyad (SF)
Nizar Farsakh, NSU
Subject: Follow up on AHLC and current situation
Date: Monday October 6, 2008; 10:15 ? 11:15 pm
Both agreed that NY meetings were good in that they built toward shifting the paradigm. SF wants next AHLC to see tangible change.
SF mentioned that there is a risk in giving too much satisfaction for Israel?s small positive steps because that may derogate from achieving the bigger goals. So we take whatever they give but we push for dramatic change if we want people to feel that we are in a new era and hence get serious investments and get the economy running.
SF said Israel gave ok on deploying 200, not all battalion, in Hebron but they delayed the deployment from the 7th to the 17th. So he asked TB to make sure they don?t postpone again. TB said he?ll raise that with Barak.
SF raised the issue of Israel?s ?upgrade? of Anabta checkpoint by confiscating land. He said that defeats the purpose. RD said they?re raising it with the Israelis and asking them to shift it 90 degrees so that it protects the settlement access but does not block Palestinian traffic.
SF said that compared to last year there has been minimal change so that is not a victory. Regardless, if we are to prioritize then ending incursions will have a greater impact on people?s lives.
TB asked about cash to Gaza. SF said 50 million NIS were transferred a week ago but they need more. He added that the Israelis put themselves in a bind when they took the issue to the media and made it look like they were funding Hamas.
On reconciliation, TB said that in NY he sensed the Arab countries were taking positions on hamas similar to SF?s. SF agreed and added that Saudis now realize that he is sincere about reconciliation and realize Hamas?s intransigence. Even domestically people feel that.
SF voiced a concern that if the arabs don?t push the reconciliation by mid November then Hamas won?t feel pressured and there will be no deal before January 9th. Which means the PA will have to reconfigure its policy. Hamas is growing stronger in Gaza and the PA cannot keep pretend to be running institutions there when in fact they are not. Hanieh will have to sort out the cash problem with Barak, they should take the responsibility.
TB said he?s talking to Egyptians and SF said he does not want them to keep giving the impression that there is progress. He added that his government said it had no conditions on reconciliation, so the Arabs need to deliver Hamas and not just talk of progress.
TB asked about Fateh reform. SF said there are no signs. He said Hamas?s negatives are deepening but it is unclear how long will it take for Fateh to become disciplined.
TB said that Bibi is interested in meeting SF. SF said he has a rule of not meeting opposition, so it is not personal. However, last time he asked for a meeting SF politely declined and then Bibi leaked to the media that SF was running after him for a meeting. SF then said that some have told him that if he reaches a deal with Bibi then he will keep it, that he is a businessman that way. TB agreed. RD said he was the first Likud member to forgo Eretz Israel by signing the Hebron deal; he has no principles he concluded.