The U.S. Administration is sending two envoys this week to Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories in order to examine ways to help strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rule. 

The envoys – Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, and David Walsh, head of the Middle East department in the State Department – will meet with Abbas and with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

According to American sources, the envoys would ask Sharon to list steps he can take to help strengthen Abbas.

During his meeting with U.S. President George Bush, Sharon lashed at Abbas, calling him a major disappointment. In particular, he was severely critical of Abbas’ approach to politically absorb armed Palestinian groups into the PA political and security branches rather than clash with them militarily.

Sharon claims that Abbas’s approach is in effect strengthening armed resistance groups. 

Sharon went even further, predicting the collapse of Abbas, calling the American administration to start planning for the post-Abbas era.

According to U.S. sources, Bush affirmed that Abbas “is the elected president of the Palestinian Authority” and “must be helped.”, demanding that Israel do what it can to strengthen Abbas.

According to Israeli sources, Bush laid a clear demand: ‘Show that Israel is doing everything it can and more to help him. Israel cannot be seen as being the reason for his collapse, if it happens.’

The American envoys are arriving to the region to primarily discuss with Sharon and other Israeli officials specific steps that Israel will undertake to help Abbas.

In talks with Sharon, Bush stressed the importance of democratization in the Arab world as a necessary precondition for security, stability, prosperity and preventing terror.

‘Only a democratic country wants a good life for its citizenry, and thus turns into a building block of stability,’ Bush told Sharon, “Making the Middle East democratic is a most important strategic move for a more secure future.’ He added.

‘I have no doubt that if the Arab world around us were truly democratic, Israel would be able to take much greater risks than it can now,’ Sharon responded.