Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom surprised his Egyptian counter part as he called on Egypt to help Israel carryout its “regional road map.” which aims at normalizing relations and establishing diplomatic relations with Arab states.

“We are not in a state of enmity with most Arab countries; I seek Egyptian help to advance cooperation between Israel and Arab countries.” Shalom said as he reviled that Israel will establish full diplomatic relations with 7 Arab countries very soon.

Taken by surprise, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit reminded Shalom with the Arab summit decision to fully and collectively normalize relations with Israel if the Hebrew state pulls out of all Arab land occupied during the 1967 war.

Even when presented as a unilateral act, Israeli Prime minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement entails a price tag. The Americans paid a major chunk, Arabs are asked for the remaining part.

In exchange to disengagement, Sharon received American assurances that allows Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, continue the construction of the separation wall, and free Israel from paying any price to the major regional human tragedy, namely refugees issue. In addition, Sharon is arriving Wednesday back to Israel with generous offers for financial assistance.      

On the regional level, Israel, assisted by the United States, has been applying tremendous pressure to breakdown the Arab consensus reached in the latest Arab summit in Allegers.

Shalom is attempting to revive what came to be known as the “Jordanian proposal”, which was presented prior to the Arab Summit and then retracted due to serious objections, especially from the side of the Palestinian delegation.

While Palestinians hope that the eroding Arab solidarity would not reach a bottom, where Arab states normalize relations with Israel before a final status agreement is reached, coordinated American-Israeli pressure is likely to encourage some gulf and northern African Arab states to normalize relations with Israel even before the disengagement plan is implemented.

So far, payment is demanded in advance, with no delivery guarantees.

On the Palestinian side, Palestinian President Hesitation to define a time for his expected visit to Washington, and the latest statements made by PA official Saeb Erikat reflects the level of frustration and confusion the Palestinian Authority encounters.

Erikat complained about lack of clarity over future prospects, which could produce a big prison called “Gaza” as an end result.

In Arafat times, the Palestinian leadership has insisted on receiving assurances on what is expected at the end of the tunnel prior to any security cooperation with Israel. Abbas has accepted to make major moves insecurity cooperation, but are becoming increasingly worried about the consequences.

Talks and statements about a viable future Palestinian state are not enough to lower Abbas’s fears. He wakes up every morning to hear the sound of bulldozers, listen to Israeli threats, read more reports on settlement expansion and finds that one more Arab state has moved closer to normalize relations with Israel.

Israel is seemingly harvesting even prior to planting.