A trip past the King David Hotel in Jerusalem this morning showed that
Israel was preparing for the arrival of the British Prime Minister Tony
Blair.  At that same time those preparations were being made, Blair was
meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.  The King
David Hotel was swamped with police and security, placing barricades
and stringing police tape around the entire building.  Police guards
with bullet proof vest stood at the ready as preparations for the
British leader began early this morning.

Meanwhile, Abbas and Blair met and discussed the future of the peace process and how it will affect the Palestinians.   Blair was quoted in the WAFA news agency as saying, "We don't want anything to stand in the way of helping the Palestinian people, your people are suffering."  He continued by adding, "The next few weeks would be a critical time for the Middle East."  As the death toll and abductions continue to increase as a result of tensions between Hamas and Fatah, and with clashes occurring throughout Gaza and the West Bank, the British Prime Minister could be quite accurate in his assessment of the situation.

Both President Abbas and Tony Blair intently discussed the efforts put forward by the Arab governments, moderates and other supporters of a two state solution who are willing to shoulder the responsibilities and push for a fair and just resolution.  Tony Blair was quoted as saying, "Now is the time for the international community to respond."