On eve of the Wednesday Palestinian-U.S. summit, Palestinian Authority officials expressed concerns that the visit will not yield any significant achievements, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday.
During his meeting with U.S. president George Bush, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who earlier said he would request American guarantees for launching the road map peace plan immediately after the Gaza Pullout, is expected to only demand that the intended summer pullout not be accompanied with expansion of West Bank settlements.
Abbas departed Tuesday for his first visit to the White House since being elected in January.
Palestinian sources said the PA would condition coordinating the implementation of the disengagement plan, including working to ensure a calm withdrawal, with assurances that Israel will not expand West Bank settlements.
Abbas hinted Monday that the PA may link its efforts to ensure calm pullout to Israel’s readiness to halt the construction in the settlements.
"Peace and security cannot exist together with the continued settlements," he said.
The same sources said the PA believes that the American Administration will refrain from applying any significant pressure on Israel until the pullout is completed.
PA officials have lowered significantly their expectations on the expected outcome of the Washington summit.
Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath said Tuesday that the PA believes “the Americans will not make any significant move before the end of the withdrawal from Gaza."
Shaath added that the PA greatest concern is that “during the withdrawal Israel will unilaterally expand the settlements,"
During meetings between PA officials and the American consulate in East Jerusalem to coordinate the visit, it became clear that the American Administration is not welling to address final status issues or make more demands of Israel, as the PA is demanding, until the completion of the pullout from Gaza.